Monday, June 21, 2021

Controversy over disclosure of Chinese COVID vaccine pricing in Bangladesh

A controversy has arisen in Bangladesh over the issue of the price disclosure for the purchase of 15 million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm COVID 19. On May 27, the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase approved the proposals for buying 15 million doses of the Chinese vaccine. After the meeting, an official of the Cabinet Division disclosed to the reporters that the vaccine will be purchased at the price of USD 10 per dose. However, subsequently, the government denied the price disclosure and refused to divulge the price.

The Chinese government was a little upset at the price disclosure as the vaccine was supplied at a higher rate to some other countries and the agreement stipulated that the price will not be disclosed, reports UNB.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen also held a meeting with the Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming on the issue.

In an interview to a local TV Channel, Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen said that he has expressed regret about the incident to the Chinese ambassador. He said Bangladesh’s position was adversely affected by this as it would not be able to buy the vaccine from China at the same rate in future.

Earlier, Bangladesh had concluded a deal with the Serum Institute of India (SII) for supply of 30 million doses of the COVID 19 vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca at a reportedly much lower rate. However, the supply has been interrupted due to a sudden spike in COVID 19 cases in India and subsequent rise in the domestic demand for the vaccine.

– Rajesh Jha

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