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Dhaka Tribune

Envoy says arrival of Moderna vaccine shipment ‘only the beginning’

US understands urgency of getting vaccines to Bangladesh quickly, says Ambassador Earl R Miller

Update : 03 Jul 2021, 08:47 AM

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller has said the arrival of 2.5 million doses of the US biotech firm Moderna's highly successful vaccine for Covid-19 through the Covax facility is only the beginning.  

"The United States understands the urgency of getting as many safe and effective vaccines to Bangladesh as quickly as possible," he said while addressing a reception at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Friday night. 

Earlier, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen received the first consignment of 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine under the Covax framework. 

Also Read - First consignment of Moderna vaccine arrives

Health Minister Zahid Maleque, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Health Services Division Senior Secretary Lokman Hossain Miah, and other top officials of the Bangladesh government were also present.

The second consignment arrived on Saturday morning. 

Ambassador Miller said the United States has been Bangladesh’s closest partner for the past five decades in working to improve public health.

"Today, at this uniquely challenging moment in history, our partnership is more important than ever," he said. 

Miller said he is proud to join with partners and leaders from the government of Bangladesh to continue to work together to build a world safer and more secure against the threat of infectious disease. 

"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," said the US ambassador. 

The US envoy said the Moderna vaccine doses are a gift, at no cost, from the American people. "We share these vaccines with the singular objective of saving lives.   Because it is the right thing to do. It is what Americans do in times of need.  When we have the capacity, we have the will, and we step up and we deliver."

He said the United States is the largest donor of assistance to Bangladesh’s Covid-19 response.

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, 1,200 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.

"We understand to save lives around the world, stop the threat of new variants, and rebuild the global economy, we must work together to quickly vaccinate as many people as possible everywhere," said Ambassador Miller. 

“The United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts as we have at home,” he said.    

"We will use the power of our democracy, the ingenuity of American scientists, the strength of American manufacturing and, most importantly, the resilience, commitment and generosity of spirit of the American people to help the world beat this pandemic." 

Miller said the United States was the arsenal of democracy in the global crisis of World War Two. "We are going to be an arsenal of vaccines in our shared fight to end the global crisis of Covid-19." 

Earlier this year, President Biden announced a US commitment to donate at least 80 million doses from its own vaccine supply to the world.     

"We will also allocate 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for distribution by Covax to countries around the world," Miller said.

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