Bangladesh seeks urgent delivery of vaccines from US

Bangladesh has sought emergency delivery of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine from the US to fill up the second dose gap.

Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen on Thursday in a meeting with US Ambassador in Dhaka Earl Miller sought 10 to 20 million doses of vaccine with immediate release of 4 million doses.

The US ambassador, however, did not make any comment after the meeting. But he tweeted: “Good meeting with Foreign Minister @AKAbdulMomen today to discuss how we build on the $73M U.S. investment to date to strengthen the COVID response in Bangladesh.”

Bangladesh is buying the vaccine from the Serum Institute of India. But it could not deliver the doses as per the deal due to low production.

Bangladesh has received 7 million of Oxford-AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine doses produced by Serum Institute of India through its contract. Besides, India also gave 3.3 million doses of vaccine to Bangladesh as a gift

This is the largest amount sent from India to any country.

More than 8 million people were vaccinated with the first dose in Bangladesh. There is a gap of about 2 million doses to complete the second dose for all of them.

The government is now depending on Washington since the US will share up to 60 million doses of its Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine with other countries.

The Indian government also put in all resources to ramp up the production by every means. The vaccination in India itself has gone down due to lack of doses. By mid to end of June, the situation is expected to be eased.

However, one can wait for the second dose for a month as the recommended dosage is two doses given intramuscularly (0.5ml each) with an interval of 8 to 12 weeks.

The Foreign Minister earlier said they were in touch with Washington to get the vaccine.

He also urged the Bangladesh diaspora there to keep pressure on the US government so that they feel the urgency.

John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, during his visit to Dhaka last month also assured that.

After the meeting with the ambassador on Thursday, the foreign minister said: “We have sought 10 to 20 million doses of vaccine from the USA. We requested immediate release of four million doses”.

He said they have 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,” Dr. Momen said. 

He said the US Embassy in Dhaka is working sincerely to help Bangladesh provide vaccines.

Recently, the Bangladesh government approved emergency use of Chinese and Russian vaccines.

The Chinese government will send 5 lakh doses of vaccine as a gift by May 12.