Vaccines to come in time to meet needs, he says
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Saturday said there is nothing to be worried about the availability of vaccines, noting that the government will have enough vaccines soon from alternative sources.
“I believe we'll have enough vaccines. No one should be worried about it. Vaccines will come timely and all will get it,” he said in a video message shared on his verified Facebook page.
The foreign minister said Bangladesh is much ahead of many countries in the world in procuring vaccines and launching vaccination drives across the country.
He said many European countries decided about which vaccine they should use just in April whereas in Bangladesh many people got vaccinated.
Apart from China and Russia, Dr Momen said, there is much possibility to get vaccines from the United States.
The foreign minister has recently written a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken seeking vaccine doses from the US for immediate and long-term needs.
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The government has sought immediate release of 2-4 million doses of vaccine from the United States (US) and a total of 10 to 20 million doses of vaccine for the long term supply.
The US will share up to 60 million doses of its Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines vaccine with other countries as they become available.
The foreign minister said 500,000 doses of Chinese vaccine will arrive here on May 12 as a gift from the Chinese government
The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving the green light for this vaccine to be rolled out globally.
The Sinopharm vaccine is produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China National Biotec Group (CNBG).
“The addition of this vaccine (Sinopharm Covid-19) has the potential to rapidly accelerate Covid-19 vaccine access for countries seeking to protect health workers and populations at risk. We urge the manufacturer to participate in the COVAX Facility and contribute to the goal of more equitable vaccine distribution," says Dr Mariângela Simão, WHO assistant-director general for Access to Health Products.
Dr Momen said Russia's Sputnik V Covid vaccine showed over 97% efficacy while the Chinese vaccines were taken by 100 million people without any side effects.
He said the government of Bangladesh got the vaccines from India at a very low cost but they could not supply as per agreement due to the deteriorating situation in India with sharp rise of demands for vaccines there.
Earlier, the foreign minister said the government is not shifting its attention from India as there is an agreement with Serum Institute of India to get 30 million doses of vaccine.
He said India is yet to reply as Bangladesh sought at least 3 million doses of vaccine under the agreement to address the immediate demand in Bangladesh. “We’ll procure vaccines wherever we get it.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reaffirmed that the government will procure vaccines at any cost to protect people from coronavirus."We are bringing more vaccines, no matter how much money is required; we will bring more vaccines."
Bangladesh has received 7 million of Oxford-AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine doses produced by Serum Institute of India (SII) vaccines through its contract. Bangladesh also received 3.3 million doses of vaccine as a bilateral partnership gift. This is the largest amount sent from India to any country.