Bangladesh’s government on Monday announced the free distribution of 30 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine expected to be available for patients in January.
The country’s Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam made the announcement at a news conference after a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The distribution will be done in line with World Health Organization protocols that determine who will get the vaccine first, he said.
The government has already allocated taka 7.35 billion (around $87 million) to purchase the vaccine, he said, adding: “People will get it for free.”
On Nov. 4, Bangladesh inked an agreement to get 30 million doses of the Oxford vaccine from India's Serum Institute once it becomes available.
Once the vaccine is developed, Bangladesh will get it via the institute. The vaccine will be available for 15 million people, as two shots are needed per person.
The process of importing the vaccine is expected to start in January, said the health minister at the signing ceremony.
Bangladesh will also get 68 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine from the Gavi Vaccine Alliance.
To ensure smooth financing, the government has already sent letters to donor agencies seeking loan assistance to buy the vaccine.
Meanwhile, the South Asian country Monday registered some 2,525 fresh COVID-19 infections, the highest daily tally since Sept. 2, bringing the total infections to 464,932. Fatalities surged to 6,644, with 35 new deaths in the past 24 hours, according to government data.