We must ensure vaccine for all
Kudos to the government for deciding to make the Coronavirus vaccine available to all at free of cost once it is available in the market. A rough estimate shows that Bangladesh will require $1.65 billion to $2 billion to bring its population of 165 million under the Covid-19 vaccination coverage. Therefore, the finance ministry has already sought $2 billion in financial assistance from four development partners to purchase, transport, store and administer the distribution of the vaccine. Each person is likely to need two shots which may cost between $10-12.
Undoubtedly, it is an admirable step, since the nature of the pandemic requires that everyone across the world is included in the vaccination programme. A nation and its government cannot risk any citizen's life.
At present, nine countries under the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) are engaged in producing the vaccine, and several other countries outside the programme are running their own tests and trials. According to the health ministry, it is engaged in talks with five front-running vaccine producers. We believe that the higher the number of countries involved, the better it is for the prospect of early production of the vaccine. The effectiveness and safety of the drug is very important and we should go for the best vaccine that comes with the approval of WHO.
On that regard, we hope that our own made BANCOVID will get enough support for the government, as it has a plan to hit the market in late December. Already the Nepalese envoy to Bangladesh has expressed their interest in procuring BANCOVID once the vaccine passes its human trial.
However, one is not certain when exactly the vaccine might be available; we believe that the government should also work out an effective unbiased distribution plan in advance. They must prepare a priority list that should be based on medical and health factors, with the most vulnerable given the top priority. And that should be determined by the health officials alone.
We are passing an unprecedented time as the deadly virus has posed serious health hazards for the world. But we are glad to see that countries have come together to produce a vaccine in a much shorter time. We convey our hearty congratulations to them. Now it is the duty of our leaders and policy makers to make it available free of cost to all. Global purchase-ability and availability is the prime is concern now.