FM urges expats for lobbying to get vaccines from US

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DHAKA, May 5, 2021 (BSS) – Foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today urged Bangladeshi expatriates and diaspora residing in the US to make a strong lobby with the Washington DC so that Bangladesh could get a portion of the US’s surplus COVID-19 vaccine.

“If our diaspora can make an urge there (in the US), it will be easy to get the COVID-19 vaccine from the US,” he told the media at his residence today.

The foreign minister said Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA M Shahidul Islam is in touch with the concerned officials of the US government to get vaccines from there, as the US plans to share up to 60 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine with other countries.

However, he said, Dhaka heard that the US is giving priority to India and Brazil to provide its surplus vaccine as most COVID-19 deaths were reported in these two countries recently.

Dr Momen said the Indian diaspora there is strongly lobbying with the US government so that the US sends a whole lot of vaccines to India.

The foreign minister said, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller is likely to meet him on Thursday to update on overall issues including supply of oxygen to Bangladesh.

Momen said according to Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Li Jiming, the Chinese government is supposed to start delivering 5 lakh doses of China Sinovac vaccine as gift before Eid-ul-Fitr.

He said Russia is also interested to give vaccines to Bangladesh and sent documents to have a government-to-government agreement.

“We’ll procure vaccines from wherever we get it,” he said.

Bangladesh is a prime recipient of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines produced in India’s Serum Institute, but the alarming surge of the infection cases in India has created uncertainty over its expected availability in due time.

Under an agreement of getting 30 million doses from India, Bangladesh is supposed to receive 5 million in each month, but after getting seven million of doses, Dhaka is yet to receive the third consignment that was scheduled to arrive here by March.