Bangladesh will not get Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from India soon due to crisis of raw materials and a huge internal demand in India, according to a note of the Indian High Commission.
"India has been trying to meet its internal demand as well as obligations made under contractual agreements by Indian companies to produce more of the vaccines being manufactured at the Serum Institute of India, Pune and by other prominent vaccines manufacturers," said the release.
Besides, the whole world is aware that important key countries of the world have been withholding raw materials, critical for the manufacture of these vaccines. Supply of contracted vaccines till then will have to be held in abeyance. It is really for the developing South to look after itself, it said.
Since late last year, India and Bangladesh have been working to bring to the people of Bangladesh safe and easily available vaccines. The fact that people in Bangladesh have been fully vaccinated with the second dose is testament to that.
Moreover, icddr,b and Bharat Biotech entered into an agreement in December 2020 for the Phase-III clinical trials of the COVAXIN, but the actual trials are still awaiting approval, it said.
COVAXIN has shown efficacy of over 80%, comparable to that of Oxford AstraZeneca COVISHIELD.
"If the co-production of COVAXIN, as offered by India, had begun in Bangladesh using our immense scaling up capacity and presence of multiple manufacturers, "Made in Bangladesh" vaccines would be administered in our country and to friendly countries as well."
"Something every Bangladeshi would be proud of. But that opportunity is still not lost, provided the we make the best use of it," added the note.
As per a deal with India's Serum Institute and Beximco, the Bangladesh government was supposed to get 50 lakh doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine every month. Bangladesh has so far received 70 lakh doses in two shipments under the deal.
The first consignment of 50 lakh doses of Oxford vaccine arrived in Dhaka from India on 25 January this year. Later, the second batch of 20 lakh doses came on 22 February.
The country rolled out mass inoculation on 7 February with the vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute. Bangladesh now has only 22.45 lakh doses of vaccine out of 1.2 crore doses.
More than one and a half lakh people are now getting vaccinated every day on average. If this continues, the vaccine doses will run out in the next 10-12 days.