Representational image. (AFP)
Representational image. (AFP)

Bangladesh to get 2 million doses of Covishield from India as ‘gift’ tomorrow

The government had held a virtual meeting with the two Indian manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines – Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech – on Monday to review the supply of vaccines to foreign countries
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 04:17 PM IST

Bangladesh on Tuesday announced it would receive two million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from India as a gift even as countries in the region look to New Delhi to help their vaccination programmes with grants.

“Bangladesh will receive 20 lakh doses of Oxford-Astrazenca Covid-19 vaccines (Covishield) from India as a gift on 20 January,” Bangladesh’s foreign ministry said on its Facebook page.

“A special flight of India carrying the consignment will land at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka tomorrow,” it added.

The ruling Awami League party too posted on Twitter that Bangladesh is set to get two million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which would be in addition to 30 million doses that the government has contracted for with the Serum Institute of India.

Also Read: Govt assesses supply of Covid-19 vaccines to neighbours, developing countries

“#Bangladesh to receive 2 million doses of #Oxford #Astrazeneca #COVID19 #vaccines from the Indian Govt as gift. This is in addition to the procurement of 30 million #CoronaVaccines from @SerumInstIndia. The gift doses are expected to arrive on 20 Jan: DGHS, Ministry of #Health,” the party said via its official Twitter handle.

There was no immediate word from Indian officials on the development.

The government had held a virtual meeting with the two Indian manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines – Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech – on Monday to review the supply of vaccines to foreign countries, both as grants and through commercial sales.

Also on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to his government’s plans to help the neighbourhood and other regions in replies to tweets from Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Maldives President Ibrahim Solih congratulating India on the rollout of the world’s largest vaccination programme.

“Thank you, President @GotabayaR. We will continue to give due importance to our Neighbourhood First policy while collectively fighting the pandemic,” Modi tweeted.

Officials have repeatedly said that the neighbourhood will get priority in the provision of vaccines as grant assistance, as was the case in the supply of hydroxychloroquine to numerous countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

However, at the same time, the government doesn’t want to be seen as playing favourites within the region. People familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity that the only country in the region unlikely to be an immediate beneficiary of India’s efforts is Pakistan, which has not made any formal request for vaccines.

A number of countries have either signed agreements or are in talks with Serum Institute or Bharat Biotech, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Morocco.

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