Dhaka – Bangladesh has no clear information yet about the arrival of Covid-19 vaccine to be imported from the Serum Institute of India after its top authorities hinted that the external supply of vaccine will be suspended for months to meet the domestic demand first.
Health and Family Planning Minister Zahid Maleque said on Monday he heard about the Indian suspension. “We are trying to contact through the foreign ministry. Also keeping in touch with the Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka,” he told reporters.
He hoped the international agreement with Serum Institution of India will not be under the purview of the suspension. “Therefore, we have nothing to worry, and India will respect the international agreement.”
The minister, who earlier told reporters that Bangladesh would get the vaccine by January, now says he can’t ensure when the vaccine will be available.
“It is a new problem, but we want to keep confidence on India,” he said.
Maleque said Bangladesh has sent necessary amount of money to the Indian company. The rest amount of 120 million dollars will be sent on Tuesday.
The minister said Bangladesh is also trying to source vaccine form other countries.
Meanwhile, the local Bangladeshi partner of the Serum Institution of India, has said they will get the 30 million doses as per the agreement.
Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited is the local partner of Serum Institute in Bangladesh.
“We believe we are on the priority list and we will get vaccine on time,” Rabbur Reza, Chief Operating Officer of the company said.
Serum Institute of India, the Indian manufacturer of the AstraZeneca/Oxford coronavirus vaccine, said it wants to concentrate on meeting India’s own immediate demand in the next two months before exporting to other interested countries.