Two million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India arrived in Dhaka on Thursday morning as a “gift” from New Delhi.
A special flight of India carrying the consignment landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka at 11:20am, Airport sources said.
Later, High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami handed over the vaccine to Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momenat at a formal ceremony at State Guesthouse Padma.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and other high government officials were present on the occasion.
Earlier, Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar tweeted on “VaccineMaitri” saying India reaffirms the highest priority accorded by India to relations with Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, a highly-placed source said 50 lakh doses of vaccine will come from India in the first phase through private sector channels soon.
The Serum Institute of India has produced the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and drug maker AstraZeneca.
On January 8, Bangladesh approved the procurement of 30 million doses of Covishield vaccine from India.
The Directorate General of the Drug Administration (DGDA) has authorised Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited to import and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine from India. In the initial six months of the first phase, Beximco will procure five million vaccine doses per month.
An agreement was signed in November between the Bangladesh government and the Serum Institute of India through which Beximco will avail 30 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Since vaccine would be the ultimate weapon against coronavirus, diplomatic sources said the government has launched an all-out effort to get the vaccine for its citizens.