Will provide as much fund is needed for ensuring vaccine supply, says finance minister
With a plan to bring 80% people of the country under the mass immunization program in phases, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday said the government will vaccinate 2.5 million people each month.
He came up with the announcement while proposing the national budget for FY2021-22 in the parliament.
“Plans have been formulated to vaccinate 80% of people in phases. In the first phase, people with risks will be vaccinated and 2.5 million vaccines will be given each month,” the minister said.
Referring to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s recent announcement that the government will ensure free vaccination for all, Kamal said they will provide as much fund as it is needed to bear the expenses of procuring the required doses of vaccine.
“We’ll make adequate allocation for this purpose in the budget.”
He said the vaccination program is being implemented at the field level through coordination between the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) and the Communication Disease Control (CDC).
Kamal said the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan has been prepared under the EPI to protect the lives of people from Covid-19.
“The government procured 30 million doses of Covishield vaccine of Oxford-AstraZeneca from the Serum Institute of India. In addition, 68 million doses will be available from the Covax facility under the World Health Organization (WHO) for 20% of our population, that is, for 34 million people.
"Out of this 106,000 doses have already been received,” he said.
The minister said there are plans to buy vaccines from the governments of China and Russia, Pfizer Co. from the US and Sanofi/GSK from France/Belgium. “Negotiations are at the final stage for procuring Sinopharm vaccine from China and Sputnik-V vaccine from Russia, and, if necessary, manufacturing the same in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, seven million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine reached Bangladesh, and the governments of India and China gave 3.2 million doses and 500,000 doses respectively of coronavirus vaccine as gifts.
The finance minister said the World Bank provided $500 million for procuring vaccines and $14.87 million for logistic support.
“Loan agreement for $940 million with the ADB to procure Covid vaccine is at the final stage. Alongside, there is a good possibility to receive support for vaccine procurement from the European Investment Bank and AIIB,” he added.