Bangladesh’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud on Monday said India has assured his country of more deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines ‘when the situation is better here’.
Mr. Mahmud, who inaugurated the Bangabandhu Media Centre at the Press Club of India here, also said India tackled the second wave of coronavirus effectively and the infection rate has come down from over 25 per cent to 2 per cent which is a “great achievement”.
Bangladesh had entered into a deal with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to procure 30 million doses of vaccine.
In January, India gifted 3.2 million doses of domestically manufactured coronavirus vaccine to Bangladesh as part of its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
Later, under the agreement, Bangladesh received seven million doses in two consignments until February.
“The Indian government has assured us that they would provide vaccines that are in the contract…when the situation further betters here,” he told reporters.
Mr. Mahmud said Bangladesh “understands the local demand (of vaccines) in India”.
“Unfortunately, the second wave of COVID-19 hit India a few months ago. That’s why we did not get further deliveries. But I must register my thanks to the Indian government and SII. Also, India gifted us some vaccines as well,” he said.
“And, as you had a domestic demand, many people were dying at that time… so domestic demand definitely was the top priority,” Mr. Mahmud said.
Asked if he’s going to raise the issue during his meetings with Indian ministers, Mr. Mahmud said he was not here for vaccines.
“I have not come for the vaccines…. We understand your local demand and local complexities…. India-Bangladesh relationship is not only (about) the vaccines. There are many other issues…we have a historical relationship,” he said.
The minister said Bangladesh has got the AstraZeneca vaccine from Japan under Covax to administer the second dose to people who got their first dose from the SII.