As many as 2.0 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Bangladesh from India as a gift on Wednesday, the health secretary says.
The Serum Institute of India has manufactured the shots developed by the UK’s University of Oxford and drugmaker AstraZeneca, according to Md Abdul Mannan, reports bdnews24.com.
Health ministry officials said India’s Ministry of External Affairs got in touch with the foreign ministry to send the doses. The high commission also sent a letter on Monday.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque revealed India’s plan to send the vaccines earlier in the day, but he declined to specify the number of doses and the date of arrival.
He said India might ship these doses to Bangladesh before the first lot of 30 million Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses from Serum under a purchase deal.
India plans to ship vaccines to neighbouring countries to help them meet the requirement with a focus on immediate neighbours, according to the Indian media.
The Times of India on Monday reported: “The first destination would be in India’s immediate neighbours, like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives and Mauritius to help them kickstart their own vaccination processes…”
“The first shipments would be a goodwill gesture, while subsequently; the countries concerned would get on a payment basis from either the Serum Institute or Bharat Biotech.”
India began its COVID-19 vaccination drive on Saturday with about 190,000 people getting inoculated on the first day.