Elite clubs in the country are set to procure Covid-19 vaccines for their members and their families under private arrangements without relying on the government.
They will buy the Oxford vaccine through Beximco Pharmaceuticals. The clubs have already begun collecting lists of their members to this end.
Khairul Majid Mahmud, president of Dhaka Club, told The Business Standard that they have prepared a list of the club's members to procure the Oxford vaccine of the Serum Institute.
Mohammed Nasir, a member of the Uttara Club, said about two weeks ago the club management had asked them via SMS to submit a list of names including their family members for the Covid-19 vaccine.
The club's president Tariqur Rahman Milon confirmed to The Business Standard that they will buy the vaccine from Beximco.
Aminul Islam, manager (Admin and Members' Affairs) at Uttara Club, said, "We have received a demand letter for 4,000 doses of the vaccine.
Uttara Club will also buy vaccines for its staff members. That list has not been made yet.
He added that their discussions with Beximco about the vaccine have progressed a lot. "However, Beximco has not yet confirmed how many doses of the vaccine they will give us."
It has been learnt that Gulshan Club also will buy Covid vaccines for its members and their families.
Beximco will bring 3 crore doses of the coronavirus vaccine for the government and import another 30 lakh doses for the private sector.
Speaking with TBS, Beximco Pharma's Chief Operating Officer Rabbur Reza said they have received requests from various clubs and community vaccines apart from the private sector. "We are accepting everyone's request. If those who can afford it buy the vaccine on their own, it will lessen the pressure on the government."
He, however, said it has not yet been decided who will get how many doses of the vaccine.
The 10 lakh doses that will be brought for the private sector in the first phase will be given to everyone on a priority basis, Rabbur Reza said, adding that no money has been transacted as yet for the supply of the vaccines to the private sector.
Each dose will have a retail price of around Tk1,200 and any fees imposed by the government will be applicable too.
Once approved, 50 lakh doses of the Oxford vaccine will arrive in the country in the first phase. Everyone should take two doses of this vaccine. Therefore, 25 lakh people will be able to get the jab in the first phase.
Covid-19 frontliners from various occupations such as health workers, police, freedom fighters, bankers, public representatives, and immuno-compromised patients will get the vaccine in the first phase. General citizens will get vaccinated later.
So, affluent people are buying the vaccine on their own without relying on the government.
According to Beximco, the private sector and elite clubs will get the vaccine on a priority basis out of the 10 lakh doses that will be imported under private arrangement. Everyone will get the coronavirus vaccine from government-designated centres.
Even if the vaccine is brought under private arrangements, the vaccination process will be under the supervision of the government.
Rabbur Reza said they will provide the government with the lists of people who will get vaccinated from the private sector. Those people also will get the jab at the government-designated centres, he added.
The United Kingdom will roll out Oxford University's Covid-19 vaccine from Jan. 4, according to plans being drawn up by ministers, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
The Oxford vaccine is expected to get emergency authorisation in India and the UK at the same time, Rabbur Reza said. "The UK and India will then apply to the World Health Organisation (WHP) for its approval of the Oxford vaccine. They have already submitted various documents to the WHO."
Beximco will apply to the Department of Drug Administration in Bangladesh for approval of the Oxford vaccine, if the vaccine gets emergency authorisation in the UK and India, he continued.
"We will submit all the documents of the UK and India to the Department of Drug Administration. They will let us know their decision after scrutinising all the documents."
After the vaccine arrives in Bangladesh, Beximco will initially use its own cold chain to store the doses. Later, the company will deliver the vaccine to designated state-owned warehouses.
On 5 November this year, the health ministry signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Serum Institute of India and Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd to import the vaccine under development by Oxford-AstraZeneca.
Some three crore doses have been secured, and the vaccine will reach 1.5 crore people or 9% of the population. In the initial six months of the first phase, Serum will supply three crore doses of the vaccine – 50 lakh per month.