Hungary sought 5,000 COVID vaccine doses. Bangladesh will oblige

Bangladesh has considered Hungary’s request for 5,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said.

Published : 31 Jan 2021, 07:46 AM
Updated : 31 Jan 2021, 07:46 AM

Meanwhile, Hungary became the European Union’s first member to approve China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, sealing a deal on Friday for 5 million doses just a week after becoming the first EU member to buy Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, Reuters reports.

Hungary’s drug regulator gave emergency use approval to the Sinopharm vaccine, rather than waiting for the bloc’s European Medicines Agency to give the go-ahead, adding it to a list that also includes the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines as well as Russia’s Sputnik-V shot.

Bangladesh’s ties with Hungary deepened after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made a three-day state visit to Budapest in 2016. Hungary was one of the first European countries to recognise Bangladesh as an independent nation following the 1971 Liberation War.

Bolivia, a South American country, has also sought the vaccine from Bangladesh, State Minister Shahriar Alam said in parliament on Sunday.

"The prime minister and the health ministry will take a decision in this matter,” he said.

Bangladesh is using the vaccine developed by the UK’s Oxford University and British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca for mass vaccination.  The manufacturer of the vaccine, Serum Institute of India, has sent the first batch of five million doses, part of 30 million doses ordered by Bangladesh. India has also sent two million doses for free.

Hasina inaugurated the vaccination drive via video conferencing with a nurse given the first dose at the Kurmitola General Hospital in Dhaka on Jan 27.