US understands urgency of getting vaccines of Bangladesh: Miller

Sunbd Desk || Published: 2021-07-03 09:53:02 || Updated: 2021-07-03 09:53:02

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller has said his country understands urgency of providing “safe” and “effective” COVID vaccine to Bangladesh, adding Washington DC’s vaccine donations that arrived here last night is “only the beginning”.

“The United States (US) understands the urgency of getting as many safe and effective vaccines to Bangladesh as quickly as possible,” he said while handing over the first consignment of 2.5 million doses of the US’s Moderna jabs on Friday night, reports BSS.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Malik were present at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) to receive the shots, gifted by Washington DC under the COVAX framework.

Miller said the US shared these vaccines with the singular objective of saving lives. “This is a gift, at no cost, from the American people,” he said.

Noting that the US has been Bangladesh’s closest partner for the past five decades and working to improve public health, Miller said, “today, at this uniquely challenging moment in history, our partnership is more important than ever”.

He said that his country is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts as it has in the USA.  “When we have the capacity, we have the will, and we step up and we deliver,” Miller said.

Earlier this year, he noted, President Biden announced a commitment to donate at least 80 million doses from its own vaccine supply to the world while the US will also allocate 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for distribution by COVAX to countries around the world.

“We do so for the people of Bangladesh, the people of America, for all people on this precious vulnerable world we are privileged and responsible to share and protect,” he said.

Recalling that the US was the arsenal of democracy in the global crisis of World War Two, Miller said, “We are going to be an arsenal of vaccines in our shared fight to end the global crisis of COVID-19”.

He said all must work together to quickly vaccinate as many people as possible everywhere to stop the threat of new variants and rebuild the global economy.

The envoy said the US is the largest donor of assistance to Bangladesh’s COVID-19 response as to date, the US government has contributed over $84 million to help Bangladesh combat the pandemic.

This assistance includes the delivery of ventilators, oxygen cylinders, 1200 pulse oximeters, over two million pieces of personal protective equipment, five million surgical masks, and 52,000 pairs of protective goggles to protect thousands of frontline healthcare workers in Bangladesh.

The 2.5 million Moderna vaccines doses are part of US government’s recent allocation of 25 million vaccine doses for countries in Asia.

On June 29, the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) approved Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of Covid-19 Moderna vaccine in the country.

The vaccine consignments have been reaching here as good news for Bangladesh while Dhaka has been desperately looking for vaccines to inoculate a huge number of people.

Earlier, Dhaka had urged Washington DC to send 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine immediately after knowing that the US had 60 to 80 million AstraZeneca shots in stock.

Besides, Bangladeshi diaspora community filed a petition to the White House, seeking vaccine doses.

Meanwhile, negotiation has been going on between Bangladesh and China and Russia to bring adequate vaccines here as soon as possible while the foreign minister earlier said the government is hopeful to make a formal announcement soon on coproduction of COVID-19 vaccine here.

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