As there remains mistrust among the public about the vaccine against the novel coronavirus, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has expressed his willingness to receive the short first.
"I will receive the vaccine first," he said on Thursday when journalists asked him whether he would be vaccinated for Covid-19.
"Because I am old, I need a vaccine. I will receive the shot that the government will provide."
He was speaking to journalists after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase.
The committee approved the purchase of Covishield, a Covid vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, from the Serum Institute of India.
Bangladesh will purchase 3 crore vaccine doses from the company at a cost of Tk1,271.55 crore. In other words, the price per dose will be Tk423.85 or $5.
The committee, chaired by the finance minister, approved a total of eight proposals, including a proposal by the Health Services Division to buy the vaccines.
Beximco and the health ministry have already signed agreements with the Serum Institute to buy the vaccines. The government has already paid Tk600 crore in advance as the price of the vaccines.
In six months, Serum will provide three crore doses of vaccine – 50 lakh doses every month. Beximco and the health ministry hope that the first shipment of the vaccines will arrive in Bangladesh very soon.
The committee has approved a purchase proposal worth Tk244 crore for the construction of three bridges at Aminbazar, Salehpur, and Nayarhat on the Dhaka-Aricha Highway.
A section of the Salehpur Bridge on this highway was cracked on January 13, causing long traffic congestion.
A proposal by the Bangladesh Inland Transport Corporation (BIDBUC) to purchase three modern inland passenger vessels also got approval.
The ships will be purchased from Three Angle Marine Limited for Tk142.50 crore.
At the same time, the proposal of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) to buy eight coastal sea trucks has also been approved.
The trucks will be purchased from Ananda Shipyard and Three Angle Marine Limited for Tk132 crore.
Besides, the committee approved the proposal of the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) to purchase 60,000 tonnes of urea fertiliser.
The fertiliser will be purchased from Kafco at a cost of Tk132.60 crore.
The committee also approved BCIC's proposal to buy 25,000 tonnes of urea fertilisers from Basic Industries Corporation of Saudi Arabia for Tk56 crore.