Bangladesh has sought four million doses of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from the United States to meet urgent needs.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen revealed the development after US Ambassador Earl Miller met him at the ministry in Dhaka on Thursday.
“We’ve sent a letter requesting four million doses urgently so that we can give the second doses to the people who haven’t received it yet,” he said.
Citing Miller, Momen said the US was working “sincerely” to share AstraZeneca doses but could not give a date.
By the end of April, the US decided to share up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with other countries as soon as in next few weeks, reports bdnews24.com.
The administration of President Joe Biden in March said the US would send roughly four million doses of the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker's vaccine to Canada and Mexico. It is under growing pressure now to expand sharing of its stockpile with India and other countries.
Momen said India, which is experiencing a devastating second wave of infections, may get a large share of the US stockpile of AstraZeneca vaccine following the bolstered activities of the Indians in America.
“But we’ve requested them (US) to give us the doses quickly before India and other countries because we need them urgently,” he said.
After India halted export of the AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, due to its own crisis, Bangladesh had to stop giving the first doses so that the people, who have got the first dose, can get their second jab.
But Bangladesh already lacks enough doses to fully vaccinate all the citizens who have received the first dose.
The government also began the process to bring vaccines from Russia and China, but mixing the doses is still not a favourable option, meaning it needs to bring necessary AstraZeneca shots.