DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said that her government is working hard to procure a COVID-19 vaccine for the country.

Her comment came amid rising uncertainty over the arrival of the vaccine from its close ally and neighbor, India.

“In line with the global development of the vaccination program, we are trying all possible ways to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to Bangladesh,” she said in an address to the nation.

“And, once the coronavirus vaccine is available with the government, the frontline workers in the pandemic; the doctors, health workers, law enforcement members, and government workers, will be vaccinated on a priority basis,” she added.

However, the Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Vikram Kumar Doraiswami on Thursday told reporters that it was not confirmed yet when the vaccine will arrive in Bangladesh from India.

“It may take some time for the vaccine to come [to Bangladesh] as the governments and many other bodies are involved in this process […] this is a very sensitive issue. This is not like any other product.”

He was also unsure about the number of doses of the vaccine arriving from India, reported local daily Dhaka Tribune. The envoy, however, said: “There are no obstacles or restrictions on vaccines being sent to Bangladesh.”

An agreement between the Bangladesh Health Ministry, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd, and Serum Institute of India was signed last month to purchase 30 million doses.

Bangladesh has also signed up with the UN’s COVAX Facility, which will deliver two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines to 172 countries by the end of 2021.

The South Asian country has so far registered 519,905 infections and 7,718 related deaths.

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