Foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said Bangladesh will get 35 lakh of COVID-19 vaccine dodges from India in two separate consignments tomorrow while some countries, including Russia and China have also expressed their interest to send vaccines here.
“Tomorrow, we will get 20 lakh of COVID-19 vaccines as a gift from Indian government while another consignment of 15 lakh Indian vaccines will also be arrived on the same day under private arrangement,” he said.
The foreign minister was talking to reporters after attending a lecture at Foreign Service Academy in the capital.
After tomorrow, Momen said, consignments of vaccine will be arriving here from India continuously.
He said several other countries, including Russia and China have also expressed interest to send their COVID-19 vaccines to Bangladesh. “There will be plenty of vaccines (in coming days),” he added.
Momen said that the government would start inoculating the vaccines to mass people right after getting the shipments from India tomorrow.
Meanwhile, finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told parliament today that Covid-19 vaccine would be provided to all Bangladeshi citizens, aged above 18, for free.
Bangladesh is going to receive the initial supply of inoculates as part of a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on November 5 and a subsequent agreement on December 13 among Bangladesh government, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BPL) and the Serum Institute of India (SII).
The agreement ensures availability of three crore COVID-19 vaccine doses in phases from the Serum Institute.
The government has set the stage for nationwide COVID-19 vaccine distribution from early February, health services director general (DGHS) Prof Dr Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam told BSS on Tuesday.
He said his office accomplished all required steps so the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination drive could be launched by the first week of February as initial consignment of nearly 50 lakh vaccine doses were expected to arrive by this month.
Medical professionals, law enforcement agency members, media workers and local government body officials and employees, elderly people and others in close proximity of COVID-19 patients were listed as priority groups for the inoculate.
Each person needs two doses of vaccines while one would be inoculated with the second dose eight weeks after receiving the first jab.
The DGHS planned to carry out the vaccination campaign among 50 lakh people in the initial phase while roughly 50 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses would arrive each month in Bangladesh.
The government by now formed 7344 vaccine distribution teams comprising six health workers entrusted with proper distribution of COVID-19 vaccines while as many as 42,000 health workers were trained.