Bangladesh receives 3m doses of Moderna vaccine

Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration taken 31 October, 2020.Reuters file photo

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Monday night received three million doses of Moderna vaccine from the United States under COVAX facility as the government is trying to speed up the nationwide vaccination drive further, reports UNB.

Health and family welfare minister Zahid Maleque, charge d’ affaires at US embassy in Dhaka JoAnne Wagner, health secretary Lokman Hossain Miah and other high officials of the government were also present to receive the vaccine doses.

Momen thanked US president Joe Biden and his administration for coming forward with the vaccines.

"It came at a time when we need it very badly. We're thankful to the US government for supporting us," he told reporters after receiving the vaccine consignment.

Momen said Covid-19 is a global challenge and all need to work in partnership and in collaboration to face this challenge.

He said prime minister Sheikh Hasina declared that vaccines should be public property and shared by all the countries without any discrimination.

Earlier, a special flight of Qatar Airways landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka at around 9:06 pm carrying the vaccine doses.

Bangladesh already received the first consignment of 2.5 million doses of Moderna vaccine under the COVAX facility.

Bangladesh has so far received 5.5 million (55 lakhs) doses of Moderna vaccine from the United States.

To date, the United States has donated a total of 5.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Bangladesh through COVAX.

More vaccine doses from the United States are likely to arrive in the coming months, said the ministry of foreign affairs.

“We are pleased to donate another three million vaccines to help Bangladeshis protect themselves from this terrible disease, Covid-19. The fight against this pandemic is not easy, but the United States will continue to stand with Bangladesh, in partnership, to fight together,” said chargé d’ affaires Wagner.

This gift, she said, is donated without charge to save lives, and because it is the right thing to do.

"With the Eid-ul-Azha holiday nearly upon us, this is a truly appropriate time for us to present this gift, in the hope that our collective efforts will help bring the blessings of peace and health to families across the country,” she added.

There is a broader commitment by US president Joe Biden and the United States to lead the global Covid-19 response by donating 80 million doses of vaccine around the world.

This summer, the United States will also begin allocating 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine it is providing to countries around the world through COVAX. 

This is the largest-ever purchase and subsequent donation of Covid-19 vaccines by a single country and a commitment by the American people to help protect people around the world from Covid-19, said the US embassy in Dhaka.

The United States has also already committed $2 billion to support the worldwide COVAX effort, with a pledge of an additional $2 billion, making the United States the world’s largest donor for equitable global Covid-19 vaccine access.

The United States said it continues to work closely with Bangladesh to protect the health of Bangladeshis and strengthen the government’s response to Covid-19, contributing over $84 million to date in COVID-related development and humanitarian assistance.

This assistance has helped save lives and treat individuals infected with Covid-19, strengthened testing capacity and monitoring, enhanced case management and infection prevention and control practices, and improved the supply chain and logistics management systems. US support also focuses on protecting front line workers and increasing the public’s knowledge about Covid-19, including ways to protect themselves, said the embassy.