May 8, 2021

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For now, the vaccine is not exported, the letter is from India

 

Bangladesh is not sure when the next consignment of corona vaccine will arrive from India as per the agreement. The diplomatic letter that India sent on Saturday in response to Bangladesh’s request did not remove that uncertainty. On the contrary, India has indicated that it will suspend vaccine exports to Bangladesh for the time being.

Diplomatic sources in Dhaka and Delhi said this about the Seram Institute’s vaccine yesterday.

Asked about this, Foreign Ministry Secretary (East) Mashfi bint Shams told Prothom Alo last evening that Bangladesh had sent a letter to India last week to get the next shipment of the best vaccine.

Sent a letter. India responded to the letter on Saturday. The letter indicates that they are no longer able to export vaccines.

Mashfi bint Shams further said that the issue of vaccine export has been discussed with India both formally and informally for some time. They are repeatedly talking about vaccination as per the agreement. However, he does not say when he will give it. However, it is important for Bangladesh to know when the second dose of vaccine will be given to the people.

 

A tripartite agreement was signed in November last year between Bangladesh, India’s Seram Institute and Beximco Pharma to get the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Under the tripartite agreement, the Seram Institute of India has given 6 million vaccines to Bangladesh out of 30 million doses till February. Although 50 lakh vaccines were supposed to be given every month, no more vaccines were sent to Bangladesh after that. In this regard, Beximco Pharma, a supplier of vaccines in Bangladesh, wrote a letter to the government on April 18 asking the government to make a comprehensive request to the Government of India for vaccinations. The next day, April 19, the Bangladesh government sent a letter to India requesting the supply of vaccines.

Nazmul Hasan, managing director (MD) of Beximco Pharmaceuticals, told reporters after taking the second dose of corona vaccine at Kurmitola General Hospital yesterday that the Seram Institute of India had been paid an advance of Rs 1.5 crore for the vaccine. The vaccine came in 6 million doses. The Serum Institute has not yet given 8 million doses of vaccine. The government should call for this vaccine. He said Seram has no right to stop vaccination after taking money.

According to diplomatic sources in Delhi, other well-known vaccine manufacturers in the country, including the Seram Institute, are working to meet India’s domestic demand. However, the demand for vaccines in India has become difficult as important countries have banned the export of raw materials for vaccines. As a result, it is almost impossible for Indian vaccine manufacturers to export vaccines under the agreement unless Western countries lift the ban.

According to diplomatic sources in Dhaka yesterday afternoon, the Indian High Commission in Dhaka sent a diplomatic letter to the Ministry of External Affairs regarding the vaccine. The letter mentioned the third phase of testing of Covacin by Bharat Biotech. India says it will be produced as a product of Bangladesh and that this can be done by employing multiple Indian manufacturers. India has mentioned in a letter that it is urgent to approve the ICDDRB agreement with India Biotech last December for testing the third phase of covacin vaccine.

A senior Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Prothom Alo that Bangladesh was insisting on getting the rest of the vaccines under the tripartite agreement with Seram. The Ministry of Health and the concerned experts can take a decision after discussing the issue of ICDDRB with Bharat Biotech in the letter.

Bangladeshi diplomats told this correspondent that Bangladesh has been in formal and informal contact with India in Dhaka and Delhi since the last week of last month to get the rest of the Seram Institute vaccine. The issue has been discussed between the foreign secretaries of the two countries. On the one hand, India is guaranteeing vaccination to Bangladesh as per the terms of the agreement, on the other hand, it is also talking about the crisis in production due to the increased demand for vaccines in its own country and the ban on raw materials imported from the United States. But whatever the situation, it is important for Bangladesh to get vaccinated by May.

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