Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming handed over 5 lakh doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine to Bangladesh as “special gift” from his country.
Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Health Minister Zahid Maleque received the doses in the morning at the state guest house Padma on Wednesday.
At the event, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said, “We need more vaccine as only 2.5 lakh people can be inoculated with double doses of these Sinopharm vaccines that we have just received.”
“The pandemic situation in the country is considerably under control till now, however, the government is worried about the mad rush of homebound people ahead of Eid holidays,” he added.
“The government is actively in talks with the Chinese government to procure Covid-19 vaccine every month as we need it, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said, adding, “We are also weighing the capacity of local companies to produce the vaccine in the country.”
He claimed that the Chinese vaccine has reported no side effects by far and over sixty countries are using them.
The minister further said that the foreign ministries of six South Asian countries have agreed to form a pact to obtain Chinese vaccines in order to facilitate coronavirus vaccine availability in the region.
“An agreement will be signed soon in this regard, which would ensure that China will provide for these countries in the case of Covid-19 vaccine shortage,” he added.
Earlier, the C-130J flight of the Bangladesh Air Force landed with the vaccine consignment at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka around 5.35 am.
On Tuesday, Li Jiming said, “It’s the latest outcome of China-Bangladesh anti-pandemic cooperation which again shows that our two peoples are in the same boat and we will stand with each other till the end of this battle.”
On 29 April, the Department of Drug Administration of Bangladesh gave approval for emergency use of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine in the country.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh government wrote a “letter of interest” to China proposing to buy four-five crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine by December.