US looking into Bangladesh-made Covid shots | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 18, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:34 AM, May 18, 2021

US looking into Bangladesh-made Covid shots

The US ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller yesterday said the US is exploring the possibilities of producing vaccines in Bangladeshi pharmaceutical companies.

He said this at a meeting at the foreign minister with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam.

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They discussed the ongoing cooperation between the two countries in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, including providing vaccine for meeting Bangladesh's immediate needs.

Miller informed that the US government is working on the issue of vaccine supplies and has recommended having a regional approach in South Asia in distributing vaccines from the US.

Bangladesh had requested the US to provide vaccines after it said it would start sharing up to 60 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine with other countries over the next few weeks.

"He [Miller] also told us that the US government is exploring the possibilities of producing US vaccines in Bangladeshi pharmaceutical companies," Shahriar Alam told reporters after the discussion.

The announcement came at a time when many countries are struggling to obtain vaccines amid a huge global demand, with India witnessing record cases of infections and deaths.

Bangladesh is going to run out of its available vaccines brought from the Serum Institute of India, who, in March, halted export of vaccines due to massive domestic needs.

Bangladesh is also in talks with Russia and China for co-production of their vaccines in Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, State Minister Alam also urged the US to take up a proactive role to immediately stop the bloodshed in Palestine, while reiterating Bangladesh's support for the two-state solution.

He also urged the provision of interview slots on time for Bangladeshi students applying for visa with the intention of higher studies in the US, as several thousand Bangladeshi students, who have been trying to go to the US for education, have been stuck here due to the lockdown.

Miller assured that they are working on resolving the backlog created by the lockdown situation.

He also said the US would continue its support to Bangladesh in bearing the burden of the Rohingyas as they spoke of launching the Joint Response Plan (JRP) in this regard.

About the US government's "2020 Report on International Religious Freedom", released on May 12, Alam said it did not properly reflect the scenario at home, as the Bangladesh government is giving utmost efforts to ensure communal harmony and non-discrimination in the country.

He added that the government is gradually implementing the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Treaty signed by the Awami League government in 1997.

The report said communal attacks on religious minorities in Bangladesh are on the rise, and it emphasised on the importance of their (minorities') protection. It said that the government often remains ineffective in preventing forced evictions and land seizures stemming from land disputes, as alleged by religious groups.


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