Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 22 April: With India’s coronavirus situation sliding into a deeper crisis, Indian High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami says his country is taking steps so that Bangladesh can continue its vaccination campaign.
Doraiswami made the remark on his return from India through Brahmanbaria’s Akhaura land port on Thursday after a four-day vacation.
The whole world is running short of coronavirus vaccines as demand is far outstripping supply, according to Doraiswami.
“We are all working on increasing the availability and supply of vaccines,” he said.
Bangladesh is combating the COVID-19 outbreak with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
Bangladesh struck a deal of 30 million doses of the vaccine with the Serum Institute. As per the contract, 15 million doses were supposed to arrive by March, but the Serum Institute has shipped seven million shots since January.
Additionally, the Indian government sent about 3.2 million doses in two phases as a gesture of goodwill. But the shipments of doses to Bangladesh stalled after India decided to meet its internal demand for the vaccine in March, by putting curbs on exports.
As many as 7.5 million doses were distributed among citizens as of now, according to government data. The health minister had earlier said the campaign would suffer if the doses were not shipped on schedule.
On this, Doraiswami said India is continuing its efforts to keep the coronavirus vaccine drive running in Bangladesh. Among the countries India gave vaccines, Bangladesh received the highest quantity, he said.
Doraiswami reiterated how India attaches “special importance” to its relationship with Bangladesh.