A test tube labeled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, 9 September, 2020
A test tube labeled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, 9 September, 2020Reuters

India has said there is no reason for Bangladesh to be concerned over the timely receiving of the COVID-19 vaccine because India always prioritises its neighbours, reports news agency UNB.

“We’ve seen the statement made by the head of the Serum Institute of India. There’s no reason for neighbouring Bangladesh to be concerned because India has always considered its neighbours on a priority basis. There’ll be no exceptions this time, too,” a diplomatic source in New Delhi told the news agency on Tuesday.

Reiterating the highest priority India attaches to Bangladesh under India’s Neighbourhood First Policy, prime minister Narendra Modi, during a summit meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina on 17 December last year, assured that vaccines would be made available to Bangladesh as and when produced in India.

Both leaders also noted the ongoing bilateral collaboration in the private sector in this regard.

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The two countries exchanged views on the COVID-19 pandemic situation in their respective countries and expressed satisfaction at the manner in which sustained engagement between the two countries has been maintained during this crisis.

Meanwhile, CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII) Adar Poonawalla has tweeted mentioning that they will clear up any recent miscommunication.

“I would like to clarify two matters; as there’s confusion in the public domain, exports of vaccines are permitted to all countries and a joint public statement clearing up any recent miscommunication with regards to Bharat Biotech will be made,” he tweeted.

Earlier, on Monday, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen cleared the confusion about timely delivery of COVID-19 vaccine to Bangladesh saying Bangladesh will get the vaccine from India on time.

“A decision has been taken at the highest level and that would be implemented. Nobody has to worry or get panicked,” he told newspersons sharing the updates they received from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

Momen also said they talked to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and Indian High Commission in Dhaka once they came to know about a media report.

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He said Bangladesh and India will get the vaccine at the same time. “Bangladesh must not be concerned as commitment has been made at the highest level. Nothing to worry.”

Apparently, there is a confusion around amid a recent statement from Serum Institute, India (SII) whereby they stated that they will export the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine only after fulfilling their domestic demands in India.

Bangladesh has signed a deal with SII and Beximco for receiving 30 million doses of the said vaccine by the end of January or early February.