Momen hopes formal announcement on vaccine coproduction soon
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said they will hopefully be able to make a formal announcement soon on vaccine coproduction in Bangladesh as there has been a progress in the ongoing negotiation.
He, however, said it is up to them (vaccine-manufacturing countries) to choose local pharmaceutical companies for the vaccine coproduction in Bangladesh.
“They’ll come and see the capacity after necessary inspection and will provide coproduction facilities,” Dr Momen told reporters at State guesthouse Padma, reports UNB.
He said there will be no vaccine crisis in the country once coproduction begins. “Hopefully, we’ll become the exporter of vaccines (after meeting domestic demand.”
Earlier, he attended a programme where Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI) leaders donated medicines to Palestine Ambassador to Bangladesh Yusuf Ramadan.
Earlier, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming on Wednesday said a “very pragmatic” discussion is underway between Bangladesh and China on procurement of Covid-19 vaccine doses to meet Bangladesh’s needs.
He also said there is very a “encouraging progress” between the two countries over coproduction of vaccines.
Asked about misunderstanding with China over price disclosure, Dr Momen said there is no problem anymore as Bangladesh acknowledged the unintentional mistake.
“There’re many confidentialities in business and we — the government — is just a facilitator. We should abide by laws,” he said, adding that they are in a very good position in terms of discussions with China.
China will deliver the second consignment of vaccine doses for Bangladesh as a gift of its government by June 13.
Dr Momen said Bangladesh will send two special flights to bring vaccine doses and other medical supplies.
Just nine days after the arrival of the first batch of 500,000 doses of gift vaccine in Bangladesh, China announced the provision of the second batch of gift vaccine doses to Bangladesh.
Responding to a question, Dr Momen said Bangladesh sought AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the USA immediately to address the current needs. “We told them there’ll be a problem if all who got the 1st dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca don’t get their second dose timely.”
He said Bangladesh has also reached the White House seeking vaccines. “We’re hopeful.”
Dr Momen, however, said he is going to the US to attend two important events – one on Rohingya issue and another the 5th LDC Summit– at the United Nations.
Bangladesh hoped that the US will honor Bangladesh by providing AstraZeneca vaccine doses apart from other vaccines saying Bangladesh sought 20 lakh doses of AstraZeneca from the USA.
The US government told Bangladesh that they will give vaccines but they are yet to decide how many doses they will be able to provide to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh needs at least 15 lakh doses of AstraZeneca immediately.
The US reportedly wants to give Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to Bangladesh.
On June 3, the White House announced its plan to share vaccines directly with Bangladesh as part of a framework to provide 80 million US vaccine doses globally by the end of the month. This includes 7 million doses destined for Asia.