Bangladesh today (18 May 2021) urged Canada to send at least 2 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Bangladesh to meet up immediate second dose vaccine requirements in the country.
The urge was made while Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Benoit Préfontaine called on Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at the foreign ministry here, a foreign ministry press release said.
- Jabs have been sought
Foreign Minister urged the Canadian High Commissioner to pursue with his Government so that Bangladesh receives at least 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from Canada on an emergency basis, referring to recent statement of Canadian Procurement Minister Anita Anand. Canadian High Commissioner assured to follow up with his Government about Bangladesh’s request.
Referring to the recent statement of Canadian Procurement Minister Anita Anand that Canada might distribute excess stockpiles of AstraZeneca vaccine among developing countries, Momen urged the Canadian envoy to pursue with his government so that Bangladesh receives AstraZeneca vaccine on an emergency basis.
He also underscored that such a supply of vaccines should be directly sent to Bangladesh, as has been done for some other countries like Pakistan, rather than through the COVAX programme of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr. Momen, recalling that Bangladesh acted fast on collecting vaccine by concluding an agreement with the Serum Institute in India to procure 30 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, said the country is now in a difficult situation as only 10.2 million doses of vaccine has been received from India, and the prospect of getting more is low due to the ongoing massive COVID-19 outbreak in India.
Stating the emergency need of 1.6 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to provide second doses, Momen underscored that this is at present a high priority for Bangladesh.
He also proposed that Canada may help vaccinating forcibly displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh separately.
Foreign Minister Momen also appraised the Canadian envoy on the government’s efforts to acquire vaccine from some other countries including China, Russia and the US.
The Canadian High Commissioner assured that he will follow up with his government about Bangladesh’s request to provide two million doses of vaccine immediately, which is also being followed up with the Canadian government by Bangladesh High Commission in Ottawa.
- Sustainable return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar
Underscoring the sustainable return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar is the only solution; the Foreign Minister thanked the Canadian government for continued strong political and humanitarian support for the Rohingya crisis.
High Commissioner Préfontaine stated that Canada would continue its humanitarian support for displaced Rohingyas and host communities at the same scale for the next three years, as has been reflected in their national budgetary framework.
- DFQF to extend and FTA/PTA to negotiate
He also reiterated Bangladesh’s expectation that Canada would extend Duty-Free Quota-Free (DFQF) access to Bangladeshi exportables until 2027, and also would commence negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Bangladesh soon.
High Commissioner Préfontaine underscored that Canada is willing to enhance its economic cooperation with Bangladesh, including in areas of trade and investment.
- Bangabandhu Killer Nur to return to Bangladesh
The Foreign Minister expressed strong hope that Nur Chowdhury, the convicted killer of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman would be returned back to Bangladesh in near future.