New Delhi: Dhaka will Wednesday receive two million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield, manufactured in India by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), as a “gift” from New Delhi as the Narendra Modi government begins to roll out shipments to its immediate neighbours.
In a statement Tuesday, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “Bangladesh will receive 20 lakh doses of Oxford-Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccines (Covishield) from India as a gift on 21 January.”
The ruling Awami League party of Bangladesh said in a tweet that the gift is in “addition to the procurement” of 30 million doses from SII. This will be under the deal that Bangladesh’s Beximco Pharmaceuticals signed with SII earlier.
#Bangladesh to receive 2 million doses of #Oxford #Astrazeneca #COVID19 #vaccines from the Indian Govt as gift. This is in addition to the procurement of 30 million #CoronaVaccines from @SerumInstIndia. The gift doses are expected to arrive on 20 Jan: DGHS, Ministry of #Health pic.twitter.com/PpV3Ej6SFL
— Awami League (@albd1971) January 19, 2021
A special Indian flight carrying the consignment will land at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, the statement added.
The announcement comes a day after a meeting between the Modi government — Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers — and vaccine makers Bharat Biotech and SII to discuss India’s export plan for Covid vaccines.
India began its nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive on 16 January.
In the meeting, it was decided that the Modi government will follow the ‘HCQ model’ wherein it will offer Covid vaccines to its immediate neighbours that also comprise least-developed countries, free of cost to meet their initial requirements as a “goodwill gesture”.
According to an MEA statement issued later in the day, the supply of vaccines to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles will begin from 20 January under grant assistance.
“Immunization programme is being implemented in India, as in other countries, in a phased manner to cover the healthcare providers, frontline workers and the most vulnerable. Keeping in view the domestic requirements of the phased rollout, India will continue to supply COVID-19 vaccines to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manner, said the MEA statement.
“It will be ensured that domestic manufacturers will have adequate stocks to meet domestic requirements while supplying abroad,” it said.
The Indian High Commission in Dhaka said Tuesday that both countries are working together “training the trainers for vaccine rollout to jointly combat Covid-19”.
Glimpses from today's Inaugural Session 👇 pic.twitter.com/uNDSKL9V6H
— India in Bangladesh (@ihcdhaka) January 19, 2021
Earlier this month, Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen said Dhaka will receive the vaccines by the end of the month stirring up a controversy much before the rollout had begun.
The matter was discussed during the summit meeting between PM Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in December as New Delhi promised to be a “true friend” to Dhaka.
This report has been updated to include the MEA statement.