Govt readies wallet for immediate purchase of vaccines
Asif Showkat Kallol || BusinessInsider
Representational Image. UNB File Photo.
The government has so far spent about Tk 5,000 crore to procure different types of Covid-19 vaccines from across India, China and WHO (under Covax deal), Finance Ministry officials said.
They said Finance Ministry keeps aside Tk 14,000 crore that would come from various development partners to meet the immediate need for purchasing vaccine vials.
Directorate General of Health Services of Bangladesh, Abul Bashar Mohammed Khurshid Alam on Thursday told Business Insider Bangladesh, “We are procuring a total of 10.48 crore doses of vaccine from the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF).”
A proposal has been sent to Finance Ministry for their consent on this, he added.
“There is no problem of fund for procuring vials for 80 percent people of the country in the back drop of a looming third Covid-19 wave,” an official of the Finance Ministery said.
According to Health and Family Welfare Ministry, the government had stuck deals for a total of 4.70 crore doses from India (3.20 crore) and China (1.5 crore) while 6.80 crore doses of vaccine under Covax facilities. However, only 70 lakh vaccine so far came from India.
The DGHS proposal said Bangladesh is entitled to free vaccines from the World Health Organization (WHO) under Covax facility. Bangladesh is expected to reach an agreement with Covax authority over Tk 6,368 crore, soon, officials said.
According to official documents, 7.50 crore doses of Sinovax and 2.98 crore doses of Sinofarm have been allocated for Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, the purchase of accessories, such as syringes, disposable boxes has also been cited in the proposal. Here, the price of a single dose of vaccine would cost Bangladesh $5.5. The total cost of purchasing 10 crore doses, syringes, safe needle disposal boxes, insurance and transportation would come around $ 74.72 crore ($747.2 million) or Tk 6,368 crore.
Covax is a coalition formed under the auspices of the WHO to ensure that everyone around the world is vaccinated. The alliance is sending vaccines for 20 percent of Bangladesh’s population. In the meantime, Covax has shipped 1.32 crore doses of Moderna pfizer-Bioentech, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sinofarm to Bangladesh. According to the agreement, Bangladesh has been pledged to receive more than 5.50 crore doses of vaccine from Covax coalition for free.