Look for alternative sources of vaccine, BNP tells govt

Dhaka, Jan 6 – Stating that shortsightedness has created uncertainty over collecting a vaccine, BNP on Wednesday urged the government to promptly find out an alternative source.

“This government has no minimum responsibility to people as it has been in power without their votes. Now an uncertainty looms over having a vaccine due to their (govt’s) shortsightedness and plundering policy,” said BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain.
Speaking at a press conference, he said, “We strongly demand the government make its position clear on vaccine collection, pricing, storage and distribution system as soon as possible to overcome the uncertainty. We also call upon it to find a quick alternative source for vaccine collection.”
BNP’s six-member committee on coronavirus vaccine, formed last week led by Mosharraf, arranged the press conference at the party chairperson’s Gulshan office.
Mosharraf, a former health minister, said the government can reach an understanding with China, Russia and other potential vaccine manufacturers to collect their vaccines.
He said both the vaccines of Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are not suitable for Bangladesh due to its preservation problem. “Russia has already approved it’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine while China its Sinopharm vaccine and started vaccinating their people.”
“We can look for alternative vaccines that are being recognised by the World Health Organization and international bodies after their trials in different parts of the world…our country could have got the vaccine at a lower price had we been able to negotiate with the producers of the vaccines now being administered in different parts of the world. We urge the government to look for alternative sources as there’re still opportunities,” the BNP leader said.
He alleged that various statements made by ministers and Beximco authorities about the collection of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through the Serum Institute of India have created confusion among people. “When the health minister said there’s a G2G agreement with India to have the vaccine, the Beximco authorities said it’s a commercial deal with the Serum Institute.”
Mosharraf said Bangladesh will suffer losses financially by procuring the vaccine through a third party (Beximco) instead of purchasing it directly from the manufacturer. “The cost of each dose of vaccine will now be almost double. Even if millions of doses are imported, there’s a serious doubt whether the common people will get it at all.”
He said the government could have procured the vaccine at almost half the price it bought it directly, and thus hundreds of crores of taka could have been saved.
The BNP leader said the government did not make the agreement directly only to help a quarter financially.
Mosharraf said the Ecnece meeting on Tuesday hastily approved a project of around Tk 6,000 crore to buy the corona vaccine, creating huge scopes for indulging in corruption. – UNB