H Kabir, Dhaka::
The problem with China over the disclosure of the price of Chinese vaccine by a senior Bangladesh government official appears to be over, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told Dhaka Tribune on Sunday, expressing optimism of getting the shots as agreed before.
“This (price disclosure) has been bad for us. We have expressed regret to China for the mistake. They (Chinese) have listened to us. I think it should be okay now,” he said.
“We have provided the copies of agreements to the Chinese government that will pass them on to the manufacturer, Sinopharm. Our (Foreign Ministry) job is done,” Dr Momen said.
“The Ministry of Health will take the next course of action to purchase the vaccine,” he added.
When asked if the vaccines would be available at the price agreed before the disclosure, the foreign minister said, “I hope so.”
Bangladesh planned to purchase 15 million doses of vaccines from Sinopharm. Three drafts are at the final stage to get 15 million vaccines in three months starting with the first shipment of five million in the month of June.
‘Rough ride’ with China
Bangladesh has been having a bad time, yet again, with China in respect of the Covid-19 vaccine following the disclosure of the price by a senior government official, who has now been made an officer on special duty.
“We are having a rough ride with China on the vaccine issue. The efforts are on to control the damage caused by the disclosure of the price which was supposed to be confidential,” a senior diplomat official familiar with the matter told Dhaka Tribune.
“The Chinese were not happy when we did not go ahead with the clinical trial of their vaccine in Bangladesh. After we have overcome that, we have this. They are really surprised,” he said requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media.
“We have to remember that vaccines are nowadays very hard to get even if you have money. And, China is a very important source of vaccines,” said another senior diplomat.
“We have another thing under consideration which is to produce the vaccines in our country,” he said, adding, “On the vaccine front, China is an important partner.