Commentary

We are not getting right vaccine for govt’s dependence on India

24 April 2021
We are not getting right vaccine for govt’s dependence on India


Editorial Desk :
Facing uncertainty over receiving Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India, Bangladesh has agreed to join a new platform styled "Emergency Vaccine Storage Facility for Covid-19 vaccines for South Asia" floated by China to get vaccines in case of emergency need. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka have also received a similar proposal from China to join the platform and have agreed to it.
A news report published in this daily on Friday said Bangladesh received the Chinese proposal on April 15 and a minister-level meeting in this regard will be held on April 27. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, confirming the news told the media that "we don't have any objection. We, in principle, like it." China would initially provide 6 lakh doses of vaccine as gift. Russia is also sharing the technology on condition that Bangladesh would not share it to any third party, which we have agreed.
Despite a flurry of diplomatic efforts, the matter of receiving the vaccines from India is not likely to be resolved anytime soon. As a result, the second dose of the vaccine has become uncertain for many of those who have taken the first jab.
Public health experts said that this uncertainty has arisen as a result of depending too much on India for the vaccine rather than looking for alternative sources. If the second dose cannot be administered, then the first shot will be a waste, they said, adding diplomacy and economy have overridden science here. From the very outset we had advised the authorities to remain on the path of science. But they did not take the advice. Had they taken the advice, the present situation would not have arises.  
Till Wednesday, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) had just over 27 lakh 22 thousand vaccines in stock. Around 150,000 to 200,000 vaccines are being administered every day. If vaccination continues at this rate, the stock of vaccines will exhaust soon. Under a tripartite agreement signed on December 13 last, till February Serum has provided Bangladesh with 70 lakh doses out of the total 3 crore doses committed.   
Bangladesh had scope to look for vaccines manufactured elsewhere including China and Russia but it did not show interest in those alternatives. We think now there is no alternative but to import vaccines hurriedly to administer the second dose on those who have already received the first shot.
 For everything this government is dependent on India, why cannot they learn to be the government of our own. We must get the right vaccine for our people sans corruption and with no failure which will have dangerous consequences. The government must learn to accept that lives of our people matter.

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