3 crore vaccine doses to be given free: Cabinet
The government will initially provide three crore free doses of Covid-19 vaccine to the citizens of the country selecting the recipients following the protocol of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The government will procure the three crore doses of Oxford-AtraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam on Monday revealed the government decision at a press briefing after the Cabinet meeting held at the Bangladesh Secretariat.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting, joining it virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban.
“The vaccines, being procured, to be provided at free of cost,” said the Cabinet Secretary adding that a programme is being developed to select the priority recipients of the vaccines following the WHO protocol.
He said the government on November 5 last signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd to collect the three crore doses of the Oxford-AtraZeneca SARS-CoV-B2, AZD1222 vaccine.
The Finance Ministry on November 16 initially allocated some Tk 735.77 crore against the Health Service Division to procure the Covid-19 vaccine. “The draft of a tripartite procurement agreement has already been prepared,” he said.
At the Cabinet meeting, an elaborate discussion was held over the latest progress to face the Covid-19 second wave and collect its vaccines.
The Cabinet Secretary said the government will go for awarding tougher punishment, including jail sentence through mobile courts, if one does not wear a mask.
In reply to a question, he said, “If people don’t follow, we’ll have to go for jailing. We can’t take risk.”
Anwarul Islam said the fine for not using masks will be raised gradually if the existing punishment doesn’t work. “A higher fine and tougher stance will be imposed from now on.”
Meanwhile, the meeting approved the draft of the 999 Emergency Services Policy-2020 to improve and expand the emergency services.
The policy will expand the existing 999 emergency services by enabling people to avail themselves of other emergency services by calling at the same 999 number, said the Cabinet Secretary.
Besides, the Planning Division informed the Cabinet about the Bangladesh Delta Plan-2100.
The Cabinet asked to modify the Delta Plan 2100 to some extent, said Anwarul Islam.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister gave instructions to the authorities concerned to stop indiscriminate sand extraction and close illegal ‘Balu Mahal’ (sand quarries) to prevent riverbank erosion.