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Govt shouldn’t depend on lone source to get vaccine: Experts

06 January 2021

Reza Mahmud :
Human health experts have urged government to find out multiple sources to ensure Covid-19 vaccine for the several crore people of Bangladesh to avoid uncertainty of getting the jab in time.
They said the fatal virus created an obnoxious situation across the world.
In this condition it is not unusual that any country may fail to keep their promises as per the signed agreement.
In this view, the government should not depend on one source for bringing vaccine as it is highly important to fight the pandemic.
"It is not unusual that India should have to ensure inoculating its own people first before exporting vaccines to others. In this situation we could fall in deep crises if we depend only one source," Professor Dr. Nazrul Islam, former Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), told The New Nation on Tuesday.
He suggested that the government must search other sources like Russian Sputnik or likewise to curb a lone source dependency to avoid any unexpected uncertainty.
The professor also stressed up on producing covid vaccine in other country's facilities and conduct trial with other producers.
When contacted, Professor Dr. M. Muzaherul Huq told The New Nation last night, "All vaccine producing countries have limitations of their productions." He said, "Depending only on India is a great mistake. We should explore other options and possibilities. The sooner is the better for the nation.
Bangladesh also should try to open dialogue with countries like China and Indonesia which are the large vaccine producing countries, he suggested.
After brushing up all uncertainty over the news of Indian vaccine exporting ban, the government of Bangladesh assured all on Tuesday that there is no confusion to get Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced by India's Serum Institute as per the agreement signed earlier.
Health Secretary Abdul Mannan yesterday said after fund approval by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council or ECNEC there is no reason to be concerned about getting Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in time from Indian producer.
The agreement had signed to procure the vaccine with the well understanding between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. So there will be no obstacle to get the vaccine consignment within the time.
The Health Secretary said also that the ECNEC has approved an additional outlay of Tk 56.59 billion to import vaccine doses for the coronavirus.
A meeting led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the additional funds to buy vaccines, Planning Minister MA Mannan said at a media briefing on Tuesday.
The new funds boosted the COVID budget to Tk 67.86 billion, the minister said.
On the other hand, the Serum's chief also clarified that there will be no problem about exporting vaccines to neighboring countries. Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla has tweeted that exports of COVID vaccines are permitted to all countries.
"I would like to clarify two matters; as there is confusion in the public domain, exports of vaccines are permitted to all countries and a joint public statement clearing up any recent miscommunication with regards to Bharat Biotech will be made," Poonawalla said on Twitter.
It comes amid concerns over whether the drug's arrival in Bangladesh would be delayed after Serum Institute on Sunday said it intends to concentrate on meeting India's own immediate demand in the next two months before exporting to other interested countries.
Bangladesh's Beximco Pharma has signed a deal with Serum Institute of India for 30 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. According to the contract, Serum Institute will send five million doses a month.

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