As India begins its vaccination drive and sends vaccines to its friendly neighbours like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, one neighbour is looking to have bilateral arrangements to gain vaccines made in India.
India Sending 20 Lakh Vaccines To Bangladesh
India will ‘gift’ 20 lakh vaccines to Bangladesh. The vaccines will be carried to the neighbouring country by a specially equipped plane which will arrive in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 20th January. Bangladesh has witnessed more than 5 lakh coronavirus cases and nearly 8,000 deaths.
This is the first of many consignments of vaccines that will be sent to Bangladesh from India.
This comes after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Bangladesh government, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BPL) and the Serum Institute of India (SII) in November 2020.
“The vaccine that is supposed to be given as a gift is coming on Wednesday. We are getting 20 lakh doses. Vaccines from the Serum Institute of India. This vaccine is in addition to the agreement we have,” said Bangladesh’s Health Secretary Abdul Mannan.
Pakistan’s First Hope – Covax
Covax is an alliance set up by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO. Covax is a platform “that will support the research, development and manufacturing of a wide range of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, and negotiate their pricing. All participating countries, regardless of income levels, will have equal access to these vaccines once they are developed.”
Pakistan is hoping to get some vaccines from Covax as it has promised free vaccines for 20 percent of the population of many countries, including Pakistan. Vaccines from Covax are expected by Pakistan in the second quarter of 2021.
So far two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for emergency use in India’s neighbour – the Sinopharm vaccine, made by a Chinese company, and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Finding vaccines for the rest of the population is where the talks of bilateral arrangements between India and Pakistan come in.
Needless to say, India and Pakistan’s diplomatic relations are catastrophically shaky, tensions have been growing between the two nuclear-armed countries over the past couple of years.
Now, Pakistan is looking into bilateral arrangements to get the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and India’s indigenous Bharat Biotech-ICMR’s Covaxin, according to a report by the Indian Express.
The Pakistan government has not yet formally asked about the vaccines to the Indian government. While Pakistan can look into getting vaccines from a third country, it will increase the costs and make it difficult to procure vaccines.
Bilateral trades between India and Pakistan have been plagued with discontent and simmering tensions. However, life-saving medicines have not been restricted.
The two countries, which have been hostile towards each other and make the world nervous with every confrontation in recent years, might find a semblance of diplomatic ties with talks about vaccines. But given Pakistan’s increasing appetite for severing diplomatic ties when it finds convenient, there’s only so far calm can be witnessed on the subcontinent.
Pakistan saw more than 5 lakh cases and nearly 11,000 deaths due to the coronavirus. To meet its target of providing vaccines to everyone free of cost, as the country has claimed, a lot of vaccines will be required, vaccines that India is making and exporting to its other neighbours.
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This post is tagged under: Bangladesh government, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, the Serum Institute of India, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the WHO, Covax, Pakistan vaccines, pakistan India vaccine diplomacy, Bangladesh coronavirus cases, Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Pakistan government, Indian government, vaccine diplomacy