Bangladesh becomes largest recipient of Covid vaccines from US

A syringe and a vial of Covid-19 vaccineFile photo

The United States is shipping more than 10 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Bangladesh, making the country the biggest recipient of Washington’s global donations, the White House said Friday.

“This is our single largest donation to date and will make Bangladesh our largest recipient of doses,” a White House official told AFP.

The latest batch amounts to 10,001,160 Pfizer doses, sent through Covax, the global distribution initiative co-led by public-private partnership Gavi.

Divided into three separate shipments, the donated doses are all due to have arrived by next Monday, starting with an initial 3,187,504 doses on Friday, the official said.

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This comes after another 7.4 million doses were sent to Bangladesh just a month ago.

Washington has pledged 1.1 billion shots to the rest of the world -- more than any other country -- and has already sent vaccines to countries ranging from Guatemala to Papua New Guinea.

The US shots often cross paths with shipments from China and Russia in what has been dubbed “vaccine diplomacy,” although the official insisted that the US contributions, by contrast, “do not come with strings attached.”

Bangladesh has recorded about 1.9 million Covid-19 cases and more than 29,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. New cases have dropped sharply as the Omicron variant recedes.

One of the world’s poorest countries, Bangladesh has fully vaccinated 47 per cent of its approximately 165 million people.