English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Bangladesh could be first foreign country to get India-made Covid-19 vaccine

Bangladesh could be first foreign country to get India-made Covid-19 vaccine

Outcompeting China, India’s first consignment of Covid 19 vaccine outside its boundaries could be headed for neighbouring Bangladesh, a country which has become a target for Beijing’s commercial and geopolitical inroads.

The first international consignment could be dispatched as early as January-February, according to reliable sources.

India has already made it clear that it will supply the much-awaited vaccine to its immediate neighbours. Bangladesh, which enters into the 50th year of its independence next year, could be the first to receive the jabs, two officials familiar with the development said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to visit Dhaka in March to participate in the celebrations to commemorate 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence.

The Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) is likely to be the first off the blocks in exporting the Covid 19 vaccine to Dhaka. The world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by the number of doses– has already sought the Drug Controller General of India’s (DCGI) approval for emergency use authorisation of Covid-19 vaccine—Covishield — that the company is developing with the University of Oxford and British drug maker AstraZeneca.

The roll-out of the vaccine is expected to commence before the end of the month for domestic consumption.

“We are keen to supply the vaccines to our neighbours, keeping in mind the extremely cordial relations we share with Bangladesh, we could be sending the first batch to Dhaka,” one of the two officials in the know told IndiaNarrative.com on condition of anonymity. However, the vaccine will reach all our neighbours,” he said.

Bangladesh and SII have already signed an agreement under which the country will receive 30 million doses. The Covishield vaccine will be priced at around $4 to $5 per dose, similar to what India pays.

Besides SII, Bharat Biotech, Zydus Cadila and Biological E are among those developing Covid 19 vaccines.

In the early stages of the Covid 19 pandemic, India showcased its heft as the “pharmacy of the world” by bulk exporting Hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol tablets. Now as it readies to roll out its Made in India Covid vaccine, it is set to maintain its position as one of the global leaders of vaccine development and distribution.

According to India Brand Equity Foundation, India, aided by lower prices, currently supplies over 50 per cent of global vaccines.

Last week, Modi at an all-party meeting said that India’s vaccination drive would begin as soon as we get a go-ahead from scientists. “The Centre is working on the basis of suggestions from state governments about who will be inoculated in the first phase of the vaccination drive,” the Prime Minister said.

If India manages to roll out the vaccine in the next few days, it would be among the few countries in the world to start vaccinating its citizens. The UK initiated its vaccination programme from Tuesday. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is also in the fray.

The outreach to Bangladesh is coming at a time when there is growing reluctance by several nations to import Covid-19 vaccines developed by China. Taiwanese media is quoting Chen Shih-Chung, head of the Central Epidemic Command Centre, as saying that Taipei is reluctant to import Chinese Covid-19 vaccines, citing quality and safety concerns.

Chou Jih-haw, who sits on Taiwan’s coronavirus task force, points out that China is infamous for its inoculation history of flawed vaccine management and administration. Countries belonging to the 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) have also been wary of using vaccines under the Made-in-China brand.

IndiaNarrative, com had earlier reported that ASEAN members Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia had sealed deals for procuring Covid-19 vaccines from Britain and the US. The Philippines and Thailand have secured millions of doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Similarly, Malaysia has signed an agreement with US pharma giant Pfizer to obtain its Covid-19 vaccine for 20 per cent of the population as it struggles to rein in the resurgence of coronavirus cases..