Bangladesh seeks 20m vaccine doses from US: Momen

Sunbd Desk || Published: 2021-05-06 15:47:36 || Updated: 2021-05-06 15:47:36

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said he urged the United States (US) to provide as high as 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine while seeking immediate release of 4 million doses as Bangladesh is desperately trying to get more inoculation.

“We’ve sought 10 to 20 million doses of vaccine from USA … (while) we requested immediate release of four million doses,” he told reporters after holding a meeting with US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller at the Foreign Ministry here.

Dhaka is in touch with the concerned officials of the US government to get vaccines from there, as the US plans to share up to 60 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine with other countries.

The foreign minister said Dhaka has already sent a letter to the US seeking four million doses of vaccine immediately.

“I told him (Miller) – Give us vaccines as soon as possible. It’s our priority,” Momen said.

The foreign minister said the US Embassy in Dhaka is working sincerely to help Bangladesh provide vaccines.

During his recent visit here, the US Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry assured that Washington DC would make Covid-19 vaccines available for other countries, including Bangladesh, once they have surplus reaching the level of mass vaccination in the US.

The foreign minister urged Bangladeshi expatriates and diaspora residing in the US to make a strong lobby with the Washington DC so that Bangladesh could get a portion of the US’s surplus COVID-19 vaccine.

He said the Indian diaspora there is strongly lobbying with the US government so that the US sends a whole lot of vaccines to India.

On the issue, Momen asked the US Ambassador whether they provided vaccines to India and, in reply, Miller said the US is yet to provide vaccines to India.

The foreign minister said progress has been made over discussion with China and Russia to get access to their COVID-19 vaccines.

On Wednesday, Momen said according to Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Li Jiming, the Chinese government is supposed to start delivering 5 lakh doses of China Sinovac vaccine as gift before Eid-ul-Fitr.

He said Russia is also interested to give vaccines to Bangladesh and sent documents to have a government-to-government agreement.

“We’ll procure vaccines from wherever we get it,” he said.

Bangladesh is a prime recipient of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines produced in India’s Serum Institute, but the alarming surge of the infection cases in India has created uncertainty over its expected availability in due time.

Under an agreement of getting 30 million doses from India, Bangladesh is supposed to receive 5 million in each month, but after getting seven million of doses, Dhaka is yet to receive the third consignment that was scheduled to arrive here by March.

Source: BSS

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