Corona vaccines emerge as another tool of exploitation

Diplomatic Correspondent

23 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Amid rising politicisation of Covid-19 vaccines, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said rich countries in the world have built large stockpile of vaccine doses beyond their internal needs.

“The corona vaccines apparently emerged as another “tool of exploitation” and in some cases the countries who are holding back vaccines are tagging issues with the vaccines,” he said while talking to reporters at his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

“The rich countries assure us just saying, ‘you don’t worry’, but nobody gives us vaccines. In some cases, they want to know whether we (Bangladesh) will support them on a particular issue like various elections in global forums,” said the foreign minister without mentioning any name of specific country.

Foreign Minister Momen, who returned home on Tuesday ending his US visit, said he made it clear during his meeting with the UN Secretary General with some examples.  

He said he talked about covid and vaccination issues in all his meetings in New York and received a lot of assurances as usual.

Momen said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been saying from day one that vaccines should be a public goods and should be affordable to everyone.

Unfortunately, he said rich countries are sitting with more vaccines going beyond their requirement although they are not using those and there are also incidents of date expiry.

The Foreign Minister said the United States offers to give corona vaccines to Bangladesh but they want to give it mainly through the COVAX facility.