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Bangladesh hopeful of receiving 3.5 million vaccine doses from Covax in July

Most of Bangladesh people happy over Modi visit: Momen

Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 7 July : Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said Bangladesh is hopeful of receiving more vaccine doses this month from Japan, the European Union (EU) and the US under the Covax facility, apart from a steady flow of jabs from China.

“We’re in a good position now. I should say we’ve made a line up. I think there’ll be no vaccine crisis, and the vaccination program will continue uninterruptedly,” he told a small group of reporters at his residence.

Dr Momen said Bangladesh is likely to get around 2.5 million doses of vaccine from Japan and one million from the EU under the Covax facility. “These’re likely to be AstraZeneca vaccine doses.”

Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as Covax, is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

The foreign minister said Bangladesh recently got 2.5 million doses of Moderna vaccine doses from the US under the Covax facility. “The US informed us that there’ll be more.”

He said the government wants to bring vaccine doses from Sinopharm over the next three months as per the plan and the first consignment of two million doses of Sinopharm vaccine has already arrived.

There is a discussion on extending the agreement beyond three months and the Chinese side wanted to know how much Bangladesh wants. “We’ll extend the agreement. They’ve given a date to let them know about the quantity.”

Responding to a question, the foreign minister said the government will keep in mind the issue of the expiry dates of vaccine doses as many vaccine doses are coming together. “We’ll not bring any expired vaccine.”

On vaccine supply from India, the foreign minister said India did not say that they will not give vaccines to Bangladesh. “I hope we’ll get it from India once the situation improves and production is increased.”

Bangladesh entered into a deal with Serum Institute of India (SII) to purchase 30 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca for Covid-19.

Bangladesh was supposed to get five million doses of the vaccine per month as SII and Bangladesh’s Beximco Pharma signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for priority delivery of the vaccine doses.

Bangladesh has so far received only seven million of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses produced by SII through its contract. Bangladesh also received 3.3 million doses of the vaccine as a bilateral partnership gift.

Responding to a question on vaccine coproduction, Dr Momen said they are in discussions with China and Russia. “We approached them for coproduction and there is progress.”

The foreign minister said many private companies and individuals have lined up for bringing vaccines to Bangladesh but the government does not want to take that risk. “We’ll bring vaccine doses and distribute them free of cost.”

Dr Momen said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina allocated adequate funds for purchasing vaccine doses as the government wants to bring 80% of people of the country under vaccination.

Earlier on July 3, Dr Momen said they had received positive indications from a number of countries regarding supply of more vaccine doses to Bangladesh.

“There’s nothing to be worried about. There’ll be plenty of vaccines. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has kept aside adequate funds for purchasing vaccines,” he said.

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