The first consignment of coronavirus vaccine doses from India reached Bangladesh on Thursday. In the first segment, 20 lakh Covishield shots were flown to the neighbouring nation.
At around 11 am an Air India flight with the vaccines landed at the Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka. Union Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar informed about the development on his official Twitter handle.
He wrote, “Touchdown in Dhaka.
#VaccineMaitri reaffirms the highest priority accorded by India to relations with Bangladesh.”
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) January 21, 2021
Bangladesh will also receive another 15 lakh doses of the vaccine, made jointly by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India.
‘The gift of friendship’ was handed over to Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister and Health Minister by Vikram Doraiswami, the Indian High Commissioner in Bangladesh.
Apart from the free doses, Bangladesh government has reportedly signed deals with SII for the additional shots of Covishield vaccines required for its 16.3 crore population.
The first dry run of vaccination drive will begin in the country later this month before starting the process with inoculation of high-priority groups who have been at the forefront fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, India on Wednesday set in motion the process of delivering Coronavirus shots to neighbouring countries and key partners with shipments of the vaccine reaching the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan and the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives.
The MEA said “supplies under grant assistance” would be shipped to Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles while Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius await regulatory clearances to receive the vaccines.
“The Pharmacy of the World will deliver to overcome the Covid challenge,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Twitter.
Prior to the delivery of vaccines to other countries, India also conducted a training programme, covering administrative and operational aspects, for immunization managers, cold chain officers, communication officers and data managers of the recipient nations, both at national and provincial levels.