The Policy Times Dhaka Bureau:
Ambassador Earl R. Miller greeted the arrival of the United States’ gift from the American people of 2.5 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to Bangladesh, delivered via COVAX. Aircraft delivered the shipment of vaccines from the U.S. on Friday(2’nd July) night and Saturday morning through the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, a global initiative to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen, Health Minister Zahid Maleque MP, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, and Health Secretary Lokman Hossain Mian also welcomed the arrival with Ambassador Miller of the first doses of the U.S. donation to Bangladesh in the late hours of July 2.
The United States is committed to leading the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Biden reaffirmed this commitment by announcing the U.S. will donate 80 million doses of vaccine to support global needs. The U.S. is working with its G7 partners, the EU, COVAX, and others in a multilateral effort focused on saving lives, ending the pandemic, and supporting the global economic recovery.
The United States made an initial $2 billion donation of a total planned $4 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to support the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, which accelerates access to COVID-19 vaccines, making the United States the largest donor for equitable global COVID-19 vaccine access. COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access) is a worldwide initiative to facilitate global access to COVID-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization.
“This gift from the American people of 2.5 million vaccine doses is just the latest demonstration of U.S. commitment to COVID-19 assistance to Bangladesh. The United States is the largest donor to Bangladesh’s pandemic response efforts. And to be clear: these vaccine donations are only the beginning. We will continue to donate surplus supply, as it becomes available,” said Ambassador Miller. “We are doing this with the singular objective of saving lives, and because it is the right thing to do.”
This summer, the United States will begin allocating the 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine it is providing to Gavi for distribution by COVAX to countries around the world. This is the largest-ever purchase and donation of vaccines by a single country and a commitment by the American people to help protect people around the world from COVID-19.
The U.S. contributions to COVAX, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will support the purchase and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations in 92 low- and middle-income countries. This support is critical to controlling the pandemic, slowing the emergence of new variants, and helping restart the global economy.
The United States continues to work closely with Bangladesh to protect the health of Bangladeshis and strengthen the government’s response to COVID-19, contributing over $84 million to date in COVID-related development and humanitarian assistance from USAID, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This assistance has helped save lives and treat individuals infected with COVID-19, strengthened testing capacity and monitoring, enhanced case management and infection prevention and control practices, and improved the supply chain and logistics management systems. U.S. support also focuses on protecting front-line workers and increasing the public’s knowledge about COVID-19.
Additional U.S. COVID response assistance included supplying 100 state-of-the-art U.S. manufactured ventilators; gas analyzers to allow Bangladesh to produce its own ventilators; oxygen cylinders, pulse oximeters, and tens of thousands of pieces of locally produced personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers across Bangladesh, including remote areas.