A parliamentary committee has asked the government to think about taking legal action against the Serum Institute of India for its failure to deliver coronavirus vaccine as per a deal.
The committee on the foreign ministry on Sunday discussed the vaccine crisis created by a shortage of enough doses to continue the mass immunisation drive, reports bdnews24.com.
Committee Chairman Muhammad Faruk Khan said they asked the ministry why the government did not follow the panel’s recommendation made in February to bring coronavirus vaccine from more than one source.
“The [foreign] ministry has explained that the matter depends on the health ministry. But they are trying to bring vaccine from multiple sources while hoping to get the doses from India,” he said.
After India halted export of the AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, due to its own crisis, Bangladesh stopped administering the first doses to save second doses for the people who have had the first dose.
But Bangladesh is already short of enough doses to fully vaccinate all the citizens who have received the first dose.
The government has fast-tracked the process to bring vaccines from Russia and China, but mixing the doses is still not a favourable option, meaning it needs to bring necessary AstraZeneca shots.
Bangladesh has recently requested the US to send four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine after the Joe Biden administration decided to share up to 60 million doses of the vaccine with other countries.
Khan said the committee asked the government to take quick steps to get the doses from the US and ensure unhindered second dosing.
“We’ve also asked them (ministry) to think whether they will take legal action against Serum Institute for not delivering the doses,” he added.
The ministry informed the committee that Bangladesh may get some doses from India in July.
The committee recommended strengthening border patrol to ensure that no one can enter Bangladesh from India unmonitored.
Bangladesh on Saturday decided to keep the land border shut for travellers from India for two more weeks over fears of coronavirus variant that is likely behind a devastating COVID-19 surge there.