China today handed over five lakh doses of its Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine to Bangladesh as gift while Dhaka is keeping its efforts on globally to get access to enough inoculation.
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming formally handed over the vaccines to Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Health Minister Zahid Maleque at State Guest House Padma this noon, local media reported.
While receiving the vaccine, Dr Momen expressed Dhaka’s gratitude to the Chinese government for the gift and expected to purchase more vaccines from the country soon.
“We are very pleased to get the donation and we are thankful to them (China government). We look forward to many more vaccine from China,” he said.
The foreign minister said according to the government’s drug regulations, Dhaka had showed reservation regarding Chinese vaccine earlier as those were not approved by the WHO at that time.
“As a result, we delayed the process of approval of Chinese vaccine,” he said adding that this is the rule set by the Bangladesh government since long.
“A sovereign government has right to do that... and there is no reason to blame anyone (for being delayed),” he said.
Eventually, he said, after observing that Chinese vaccines are being safely used by over 100 million people including heads of states and governments of 63 countries, Bangladesh gave node to procure Chinese vaccine under emergency use.
The foreign minister proposed that Bangladesh could go for coproduction of Chinese vaccine as the local pharmaceuticals manufacturers here have the capacity to produce inoculation.
“We could bring raw materials from China and produce vaccine here and it will be a win-win situation,” he said.
Mentioning that China has been very cooperative with Bangladesh, he said, “China has become a very good friend of Bangladesh over the days and we are looking forward better days”.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said his ministry has been continuing discussion with Chinese side to bring more Chinese vaccine in Bangladesh here commercially.
“We would like to get certain volume of Vaccine from China every month so that we can continue our ongoing vaccine drive,” he added.
The Chinese ambassador termed the donation of vaccine is another milestone in Bangladesh China anti-pandemic cooperation. “We will do whatever we can to friendly country like Bangladesh,” he said.
The envoy said this is the real action taken by the Chinese government by making the Chinese vaccine as global public goods even when it has huge domestic demands.
The Sinopharm vaccine is produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China National Biotec Group (CNBG).
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently listed the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving the green light for this vaccine to be rolled out globally.