Vaccine gift a “sign of Hasina-Modi strong ties”

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Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami hands over Oxford Covid-19 vaccine to Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Health Minister Zahid Maleque at a ceremony at State guesthouse Padma. State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam was present. Photo: Internet

Partnership, collaboration essential for each country

Twenty lakh doses of Oxford Covid-19 vaccine gifted by India reached Dhaka on January 21 by a chartered flight of Air India. On January 7, the government of Bangladesh 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. Under the deal, Bangladesh will import 3 crore doses of SARS-Cov-2 AZD 1222 (Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine) from the SII in six months in addition to doses received as gift.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said the arrival of 20 lakh doses of Oxford vaccine from India shows the sign of strong relations and goodwill between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

“It’s a historic day. They’ve (Hasina and Modi) achieved such a goodwill and strong relations! It shows the sign of that bonding,” he said after receiving the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine as gift from India.

Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami handed over the Covid-19 vaccine to Foreign Minister and Health Minister Zahid Maleque at a ceremony at State guesthouse Padma. State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam was, among others, present.

The Foreign Minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from the day one laid emphasis on partnership and collaboration in dealing with the Covid-19 situation.

“Today’s gift from India is the sign of partnership, cooperation and collaboration,” Dr Momen said adding that collaboration, cooperation and partnership is very essential for each country in the world.

He said many developed countries are yet to get the vaccine and Bangladesh is one of the earliest recipients of vaccine in the world.

Reiterating the highest priority India attaches to Bangladesh under India’s Neighbourhood First Policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 17 assured that vaccines would be made available to Bangladesh as and when produced in India.

Both Prime Minister Hasina and her Indian counterpart Modi also noted the ongoing bilateral collaboration between the private sectors in this area.

Asked whether the Foreign Minister will get vaccinated, he said since he is elected by people, he would prefer saving their lives first.

The Foreign Minister thanked the Health Ministry for managing the situation though there has been negative campaign centering Covid-19 situation and its death toll. “We remain connected and are working together.”

He also thanked the people of India and the Indian government for sending the vaccine as a gift.

Referring to Bloomberg media, Foreign Minister Dr Momen and State Minister Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh have become number one in terms of Covid-19 management in South Asia.

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

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 Indian High Commissioner Doraiswami.

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

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.

Refrain from spreading rumours

Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque has urged all to refrain from doing politics, spreading rumours over vaccine.

He also urged those who are doing politics and conspiring over people’s lives not to make people confused about the vaccine as it is one of the lifesaving tools.

The Health Minister expressed satisfaction over the vaccine management as Bangladesh has prior experiences in vaccination.

“The country has been made free from polio. People know very well about vaccine and its side effects,” he said.

The minister said the government is planning to carry out a trial of vaccination programme within the next six-seven days.

Zahid Maleque said another 50 lakh doses of the vaccine from India are expected to arrive within this month.

He said 50 lakh doses of vaccine are scheduled to arrive in each of the next six months as per the agreement.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will join the first vaccination progamme through a videoconference.

He thanked the Indian government, Indian Prime Minister and the people of India for staying beside Bangladesh both in time of happiness and sorrows.

“It’s an important moment. We’re very delighted today. We’ve received the vaccine and taken it to our store. It’s proved today that friends help each other in need,” he said.

The Health Minister said the entire world and the global economy are affected today due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“India was always beside Bangladesh since 1971. India will continue to help us,” he said.

The friendship between Bangladesh and India has got strengthened with India’s gift, Maleque said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the economy of many countries in the world. Look at the USA and Europe! Bangladesh is relatively in a better condition as our economy still moving on, the life here is almost normal,” he said.

‘Thank you’: Hasina to Modi

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has thanked her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for sending the Oxford vaccine produced in India as a gift for Bangladesh.

“I’m thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sending the vaccine as a gift,” she said, adding that the procured vaccine will come soon from India as planned.

The Prime Minister hoped that the vaccine that Bangladesh procured from India will arrive by January 25-26.

She said they have already planned how they will proceed with the vaccine. "We’ve taken all the steps to face the Covid-19 situation in the country," the Prime Minister said hoping that Bangladesh will get rid of the Covid-19. "That's what we expect."

  • Dhaka-Delhi
  • Vaccine
  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
  • Covid-19
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
  • Coronavirus

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