20 lakh doses of Oxford vaccine reach Dhaka as gift from India

Twenty lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccine gifted by India reached Dhaka on Thursday.

A chartered flight of Air India carrying the vaccine landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 11:21 am, said additional SP of Airport Armed Police Alamgir Hossain.

Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar tweeted on “VaccineMaitri” saying that India reaffirms the highest priority to its relations with Bangladesh.

Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami handed over the vaccine to Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Health Minister Zahid Maleque at a ceremony at state guesthouse Padma on Thursday afternoon.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam was, among others, present.

It is part of commitment made at the highest level – Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and as part of ‘Neighbourhood First policy’, said the Indian High Commissioner.

He said Bangladesh and India will fight the disease together as friends.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said there would be enough doses of the vaccine in Bangladesh with 70 lakh ones of Covishield coming from India on Thursday.

Asked whether Bangladesh will get vaccines as gifts from other countries, Dr Momen said he was not aware of it but more countries, including Russia and China, are interested in providing vaccines.

On January 18, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said Bangladesh would receive the first consignment of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine by this month.

“As per the guideline of the World Health Organization, we’ll vaccinate those first who’re working with risks. Also, elderly people will get more priority. People below the age of 18 won’t get the vaccine,” the minister said.

“The government is also in talks with Russia, China and others to collect more vaccines.”

On January 14, Maleque said, “Bangladesh can now store up to 150 million doses of the vaccine. So, there’ll not be any problem when 40-50 million doses come from India.”

“The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) will strictly monitor the vaccination process to prevent irregularities. A ‘vaccine bulletin’ will be published regularly by the Health Ministry,” the minister said.

“Around 42,000 health workers are being trained for vaccination and an app for vaccine registration and distribution is at the final stage under the ICT Ministry.”

On January 7, the government approved the emergency use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

The approval allows Beximco Pharmaceuticals to bring doses from the Serum Institute of India, which is manufacturing the vaccine, Mohammad Salahuddin, deputy director of the DGDA, said.

Under the deal, Bangladesh will import 3 crore doses of SARS-Cov-2 AZD 1222 (Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine) from Serum over the next six months.

Source: United News of Bangladesh