The government is weighing both steps of getting coronavirus vaccine free of cost from international agencies as well as buys it from multinational pharmaceutical companies at priority basis.

Apart from international vaccine alliance the government is considering import vaccine from those companies who have at advance stage of procuring coronavirus vaccine included Modernna, Pfizer, Estrogenica, Cyanovac, Cyanopharm-1 and Cyanopharm-2.

Health Minister Zahid Malek held an inter ministerial meeting with the concerned people on August 10, 2020 to ensure that the government gets Covid-19 vaccine at early stage.

The meeting decided eight charter of decisions in this connection which included steps to be strengthen to get vaccine at first-trek basis. The meeting also decide which following bellow.

>> As soon as the Covid-19 vaccine is made, immediate action has to be taken to bring it to the country through GAVI (International Vaccine Alliance).

>> Gavi, Kovacs facility (vaccine available for free) as well as cash vaccine purchase should be arranged.

>> Gavi, Oxford University and other vaccine making organizations should be in constant contact.

>> Steps must be taken to raise funds for the Covid-19 vaccine.

>> A roadmap related to vaccines (for easy access to Bangladesh) should be prepared.

>> Extremely necessary measures should be taken by discussing the complete procedure for bringing coronavirus vaccine from abroad.

>> Local manufacturing companies need to be involved in the vaccine production or import process.

>> The Ministry of Foreign Affairs needs to be involved in the process of vaccine import and production.

Secretary of the Ministry of Health Abdul Mannan told, ‘We are working on how to get the corona vaccine as soon as it is made. A final decision will be taken soon in consultation with the Prime Minister.,”

Earlier on Wednesday (August 12th), after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Procurement, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said, “It will be difficult to get a coroner’s vaccine if we rely on one source.” That is why if we can collect this vaccine from more than one source. I have already seen that many countries have contracted with the countries that will make the vaccine, and have also paid in advance. We also have to go through such a system. ‘

The finance minister added, “In this case, there will be no problem in our financing. Because there is a separate allocation in the budget for the purchase of vaccines.

The government is considering import vaccine from those companies who have at advance stage of procuring coronavirus vaccine included Modernna, Pfizer, Estrogenica, Cyanovac, Cyanopharm-1 and Cyanopharm-2. Department of Health MNC & AH program line director. Md. Shamsul Haque

Express of interest has already been sent to Gavi from Bangladesh for vaccination. Bangladesh has been included in the list of 92 countries eligible to receive the vaccine from Gavi. Gavi’s board meeting next September will decide on the distribution and pricing of the vaccine in member countries. It is worth mentioning here that Bangladesh is eligible for the vaccine as a co-financing of Gavi.

The Health Secretary informed the meeting that the financing of the vaccine has been discussed with the Prime Minister’s Office. Due to the current global situation regarding vaccination and the low per capita income of Bangladesh, it is being discussed whether Bangladesh will get any opportunity in vaccination.

He added that most of the members present at the meeting, especially those from ICDDR, B, were working on the vaccine. It is safe to say that Bangladesh will not lag behind in vaccination compared to neighboring countries. He also mentioned the ministry’s involvement with the Gavi, Covax facility.

Bangladesh has been allowed to apply as an eligible country for vaccination. The Secretary urges all concerned to work from now on to purchase vaccines through direct cash, except through Gavi.

ICDDR, B (International Liberal Research Center, Bangladesh) Senior Scientist Ferdousi Qadri said that ICDDR has been working on vaccine for a long time. ICDDR,  has experience in vaccine trials. It would not be right to rely on a single vaccine. “Vaccines should be brought considering the quality and price. Efforts are on to get the vaccine to Bangladesh. We need to move forward with the idea of ​​covering 20 per cent of the population through the Kovacs facility.,” he said.

At the meeting, the Director General of the Department of Drug Administration, Major General. Mahbubur Rahman said the vaccine could come in March through Gavi. The government needs vaccine diplomacy in this regard. We have already written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Local company also should concentrate manufacture vaccine by own, the ICDDRB considered.

At the meeting, the minister directed to ensure that the corona vaccine is brought to the country as soon as it is made. The health secretary said there was a need to take immediate action to purchase the vaccine in cash as well as in the Covax facility.

According to World Health Organization rules, citizens of countries with a per capita income of more than US$ 4,000 must buy the vaccine. But since the per capita income of the citizens of Bangladesh is less than that, countries like Bangladesh will get free vaccination. Bangladesh is even on the list of 92 countries that have been vaccinated on a priority basis by the World Health Organization and the GAVI (International Coalition on Vaccines).

The government has allocated Tk 10,000 crore block fund in this fiscal budget to control spread of deadly coronavirus infection.

The death tally from coronavirus in Bangladesh reached 3,694 on August 18 and the total number of cases recached to 2,79,144. The low number of tests is attributed to the closure of some testing labs for Eid-ul-Adha vacation. Still, the daily infection rate remains high at 24.5 percent.

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