3 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine to be given free: Cabinet secretary

The government will initially provide three crore free doses of Covid-19 vaccine to citizens of the country, selecting the recipients following the protocol of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The government will procure the vaccine of Oxford-AstraZeneca from the Serum Institute of India (SII), Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said at a press briefing after the Cabinet meeting held at the secretariat today.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting, joining it virtually from her official residence Gono Bhaban.

“The vaccines, being procured, will be provided free of cost,” the cabinet secretary said, adding that a programme is being developed to select the priority recipients of the vaccine following the WHO protocol.

He said the government on November 5 signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd to collect three crore doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca 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.