We should seize this opportunity and finalize a procurement deal with Russia as soon as possible
When the vaccination rollout first began, there was a burst of optimism that we were on the road out of this pandemic. But then, India was hit hard, and with its citizens dying by the numbers, the agreement Bangladesh had with India fell apart. It became clear that we could no longer rely on the Serum Institute of India to supply us with AstraZeneca. As such, we need to explore all our options, including China and Russia, as sources.
This should have been obvious from the start. Being overly reliant on India was a bad idea, and we are now paying the price for the lack of foresight. Many who need to get vaccinated are now unable to do so, and there is great anxiety as to when the rollout will get back on track.
This is why it is such good news that Bangladesh is working towards procuring 5 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine. Brazil recently became the 67th country approved to use Sputnik-V, making it the second-most approved vaccine worldwide. There is no good reason for us to be wary of it: We should seize this opportunity and finalize a procurement deal with Russia as soon as possible.
The longer term goal, of course, should be to produce these vaccines here at home. Our vaccination program, which has shown exemplary efficiency in so many ways, should not be so fully dependent on deals with other countries. Once we can produce safe and effective vaccines locally, we will not have to worry about going from crisis to crisis in terms of supply, and we will be able to see this vaccination campaign through to the end without any more hiccups.