Two million doses of coronavirus vaccine may arrive in Bangladesh on January 20 as a “gift” from India, Bangladesh Health Secretary Abdul Mannan said on Monday. A day before, Health Minister Zahid Maleque had mentioned “vaccine as a gift” but he did not reveal any details. Health Secretary Abdul Mannan said, “The vaccine that is supposed to be given as a gift is coming on Wednesday. We are getting 20 lakh doses. Vaccines from the Serum Institute of India. This vaccine is in addition to the agreement we have.”
The Serum Institute of India (SII) has manufactured the coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and drugmaker AstraZeneca. The health secretary also said the vaccines may be delivered on Thursday. “It simply came to our notice then. But Wednesday [it] may come. It may be a couple of days late. I have spoken to the High Commission of India. This is what the letter says. Maybe on the 21st,” he said. Last Saturday, the Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka, Vikram K Doraiswami had said that Bangladesh would get the coronavirus vaccine “quickly” and “urgently” under his country’s ‘neighborhood first’ policy.
Health ministry officials of Bangladesh said India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had got in touch with the foreign ministry to send the vaccine doses. The high commission also sent a letter on Monday. Earlier, Bangladesh Health Minister Zahid Maleque talked about the issue at an event organized by Dhaka Reporters Unity on Monday. Zahid Maleque said India may ship these vaccine doses to Bangladesh before the first lot of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines. He did not mention the maker of the number of vaccine doses that will arrive.”At this moment, I cannot say how many doses will arrive but the number is pretty high. The shipment will arrive anytime soon. I don’t want to mention a specific date yet, as it is a matter between the two nations,” Maleque said.
Bangladesh entered into an agreement on December 13, 2020, for three crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccines. On November 5, a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for the three crore vaccine doses. The MoU was signed between the Bangladesh government, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BPL), and the Serum Institute of India (SII).
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