Bangladesh is eagerly waiting for US response to its request for Covid-19 vaccines as the country's stock of AstraZeneca vaccine purchased from India will run out soon.
"We have written to the US State Department. We are in touch with the office of US President Joe Biden and the US Chamber of Commerce," an official at Bangladesh Embassy in Washington told this correspondent yesterday.
"If the US donates the vaccine jabs, it will be great. But if it doesn't, we are ready to buy those," the official said.
Dhaka sought from Washington Covid-19 vaccines manufactured by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and also by US company Moderna.
The US on April 26 said it would start sharing up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine with other countries in the next few weeks.
The announcement came at a time when many countries are struggling to obtain vaccines amid a huge global demand for the jabs, with India witnessing record cases of infections and deaths.
India saw over 350,000 daily cases and more than 3,500 daily deaths over the last few days. In such a situation, it banned export of Covid-19 vaccine.
In November last year, a trilateral deal was signed between Bangladesh government, Beximco Pharmaceuticals and Serum Institute of India over purchase of 30 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from Serum. Bangladesh has so far received 7 million jabs. Besides, the Indian government donated Bangladesh 3.2 million doses.
Bangladesh government has already suspended the inoculation of first dose as it now has only 12 lakh doses. These are now being used for administering the second dose, and the stock could run out in two weeks, officials said.
The government recently approved emergency use of Russia's Sputnik V and China's Sinopharm vaccines.
Dhaka is in talks with Moscow and Beijing to procure vaccines and also co-produce those in Bangladesh.
China has confirmed it will give Bangladesh five lakh doses of Sinopharm vaccine as gift. Those are likely to arrive by May 10.
Bangladesh is also trying to obtain vaccines from the UK where AstraZeneca has manufacturing plants.
Bangladesh High Commission in London said it has written to the offices of the UK prime minister, the secretary of state, and the minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth.
A diplomatic source in London said Bangladesh has sought several million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the UK.
"The overall Covid situation in the UK is much better now. We are regularly contacting the authorities here so that we can obtain vaccines at the soonest," the source mentioned.