The purchase of coronavirus vaccine, its distribution and supply will cost the government Tk4,236 crore while the first phase procurement of the Covid-19 shots under the Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) arrangement has been estimated at Tk1,175 crore.
Under the COVAX facility, 3.44 crore people – 20% of the total population -- will be inoculated in the first phase. Each shot will cost Bangladesh $2, which the government will subside.
Those shots will be bought under the Covid-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness project of the government. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) meeting led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina okayed the revised proposal of the project on Tuesday.
The premier joined the meeting from her official residence Ganabhaban, while the ministers and secretaries attended from the NEC Conference Room in Dhaka.
After emerging from the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan and Planning Commission Socio Economic Infrastructure Division Member Abul Kalam Azad briefed the press on the project.
Abul Kalam Azad said military personnel, workers of labour-intensive industries, rural traders and employees, orphanages, transportation sector workers, all foreign-bound passengers and returnees have been newly added to the vaccine priority list upon the recommendation of the Planning Commission.
Earlier, the health directorate had prepared a vaccination list, which prioritised frontline medical personnel, law enforcement officers, government officials and employees, journalists, elected public representatives, emergency service providers, religious group representatives, port personnel, people who perform burials, bank staffers, health workers at refugee camps, and immunocompromised people.
It was announced during the Ecnec meeting that during the second phase, 1.54 crore doses of vaccine will be purchased either from COVAX, subject to availability, or directly from any other organisation. This will cost the country Tk2,262 crore.
The shipping cost of the vaccine has been estimated at around Tk68 crore. Expenditure on vaccine storage, cold chain and supply has been estimated at around Tk347 crore.
The cost of the revised Covid-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness project, including vaccine purchase, storage and transportation, has been increased to Tk6,786 crore.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to development of coronavirus vaccines in more than 200 countries and organisations. Bangladesh has already signed an agreement with the Serum Institute of India to purchase the coronavirus vaccine.
The World Bank (WB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) are lending Bangladesh $500 million and $100 million respectively to facilitate vaccine purchase.
The project has been revised because funds will be spent through the ongoing project to buy vaccines from development partners.
According to the revised project, the WB loan for Bangladesh has increased to Tk5,100 crore from Tk850 crore.
The government was supposed to contribute Tk277 crore to the project, but its proportion has now decreased to Tk172 crore in the revised project. According to the amended proposal, the project will be completed in June 2023.
The original project, slated to cost Tk1,127 crore was approved by Ecnec in April last year.
Govt to vaccinate 13.76cr people in four phases
1.54 crore -- 9% of the population -- will be immunised during the first phase, with the shots being sourced from India's Serum Institute under the revenue budget. In the second phase, around 1.89 crore or 10-20% people will be vaccinated.
3.44 crore or 21-40% people will be inoculated in the third phase under the same project. In the fourth phase, 6.88 crore or 41-80% people will be vaccinated with the next tranche of funding. Thus, a total of 80% or 13.76 crore people of the country will be inoculated.
The planning minister said the government has formulated a fair vaccination plan. The mass vaccination plan will cover all citizens above 18 years.
People who will carry out the vaccination
A 4-member team comprised of two inoculators and two volunteers will carry out the vaccination.
The two individuals who will administer the shots will consist of nurses, paramedics, retired immunisers, medical interns, nursing students and hired immunisation workers.
Of the four individuals, a person will screen the vaccine recipient, one will do crowd control and mobilisation, the third will maintain documentation, and the fourth will ink the recipient after the shot.