Update April 24, 2021

Dhaka 6-37 am, 23-September, 2021

Bangladesh paid Serum in advance, govt must pressure them to deliver rest of the vaccine: Papon

Online Desk

Nazmul Hasan Papon, managing director of Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd, talks to journalists after receiving the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine at Kurmitola General Hospital in the capital early Saturday afternoon.

The Bangladesh government should exert pressure on Serum Institute of India (SII) to receive its rest of the vaccine doses, said Nazmul Hasan Papon, managing director of Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

He made the remarks while talking to newsmen after receiving the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine at Kurmitola General Hospital in the capital early Saturday afternoon.

Papon said, “Bangladesh paid the Serum Institute in advance to get vaccine. No other country paid in advance. So, they must have to deliver vaccine to us. We’re not seeking any donation, rather we’re demanding our vaccine which we bought paying in advance.”

According to the agreement with Serum Institute, Bangladesh was supposed to receive 1.5 crore doses of vaccine. The government has also paid the Serum Institute entire amount, but received only 70 lakh doses. “The government should exert pressure on Serum to get the rest 80 lakh doses of vaccine,” he said.

Indian newspapers quoting the Serum Institute, have reported that the company which produces Covishield, has said that it will make available the vaccine at Rs 400 per dose to states and Rs 600 per shot to hospitals from May 1 when all adults in the country will qualify for inoculations.

The company also signed an agreement with the Indian government to supply nearly 11 crore vaccine doses — between January to April — at Rs 150 per dose to the Centre and its CEO Adar Poonawalla in an interview earlier had indicated that it was recovering the production cost at that rate and was even making normal profit.

Bangladesh has launched vaccination campaign with Oxford-Astrazeneca’s Covishield vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India. Dhaka signed a memorandum of understanding with the Serum Institute to import 3 crore doses of vaccine last year.

Though 3 crore doses of “Covishield’ vaccine were supposed to arrive in Bangladesh until March 2021 as per the agreement, the Serum Institute has so far sent only 70 lakh doses of vaccine in two consignments.

Besides, the Indian government provided Bangladesh additional 32 lakh doses of vaccine as gifts. With all, Bangladesh has so far received 1.02 crore doses of Covishield vaccine from India.

As the Indian government has suddenly imposed a ban on the export of vaccine to meet the country’s domestic requirements of vaccine first, the Serum Institute vaccine has not been able to export vaccine since March. In such a situation, an uncertainty looms over receiving vaccine by Bangladesh.

According to Nazmul Hasan Papon, the Serum Institute is ready to export 50 lakh doses of vaccine to Bangladesh, but it is not receiving ‘no objection certificate’ from the Indian External Affairs Ministry to export the vaccine.

Expressing grave concerned, Health Minister Zahid Maleque himself also said that the ongoing vaccination campaign would face a snag unless the vaccine arrives from India in time.

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