Country seeking funds to procure C-19 vaccine
Bangladesh government is seeking financial assistance from different development partners to procure Covid-19 vaccine, once it is available in the markets. The finance ministry is asking for more than $1.5 billion from the partners to procure and distribute the vaccines, as an initiative to import the vaccines. In the upcoming competition among countries for the procurement of coronavirus vaccine, underdeveloped and developing countries will not be able to keep pace with the developed nations. Early preparation for the vaccine procurement is a time relevant decision, unquestionably. We welcome the government's timely initiative.
However, it has been estimated that Bangladesh might need between $1.65 billion to $2 billion to vaccinate its 165 million people. Assuming the vaccine will be available by the end of this year the Economic Relations Division (ERD) sent a letter to the World Bank (WB)--seeking $500 million assistance to purchase, store, and transport and distribute the vaccines. Bangladesh also requested for $500 million from Japan for vaccine procurement. The government also plans to seek $300-$400 million from the Asian Development Bank and $200 million from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for the same purpose.
It is also encouraging to note the government's proactive diplomatic approach for seeking funds as well.
The point, however, it is imperative to make the Covid-19 vaccine, once it is declared effective, a "global public good" to protect people from a global health catastrophe. And that is why it is vital to ensure vaccines' timely availability to all countries at the same time. Fortunately, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh assured that the WB will positively response to Bangladesh's plan to obtain vaccines to prepare a strategic plan for vaccination.
We hope that Bangladesh will be able to collect funds to procure, transport, preserve and distribute vaccines for its 165 million people on an early basis. Again, we know there was a financial scam in health sector regarding protective gears to curb the spread of Covid-19. Authorities responsible must be aware, so that no irregularity occurs with imported vaccines. Black marketing of the vaccine, once it is available must be strictly prevented. Additionally, health authorities must ensure fair distribution and price.
It is important to mention that Bangladesh needs financial assistance and aid not only to purchase C-19 vaccines and protective gears, but also to recover from its Corona-triggered economic losses-from which the country has been suffering from the beginning of the pandemic. For quick economic recovery, we need funds to ensure stimulus packages and offer other loan facility and financial packages to various sectors.