The government has estimated that US$1.0 to 1.5 billion will be needed to procure COVID-19 vaccine with external funding, officials said on Wednesday.
The estimate by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has been made considering the need for vaccinating 165 million people for free, they said.
A MoF official told the FE that they had recently asked the Economic Relations Division (ERD) to explore the possible sources of funds--- the multilateral and bilateral development partners.
"We have got the request letter from the Finance Division. Now we will send the fund requirement request to different bilateral and multilateral donors aimed at procuring the potential vaccine," said a senior ERD official.
According to the MoF, it would require nearly $500 million worth of funds in the first phase to vaccinate 35 million people, who are on the priority list.
In the second phase, the country will need another $500 million to $1.0 billion worth of funds for immunising the remaining people in the country.
A Ministry of Health and Family Welfare official said the government is considering vaccinating people at free of cost.
The initiative would require more than $1.0 billion, he added.
The ministry official said it was assuming that there was a possibility of developing coronavirus vaccine later this year or early next year 2021.
Many countries and companies, including the USA, the UK, China, Germany, India, Russia and Bangladesh are working towards developing the vaccine against the COVID 19. Some of them have already started trials on humans.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), in its "Fair allocation mechanism for COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility" proposal, said that 20 per cent priority group of total population will get vaccine in the first phase.
Among the priority groups, the health care professionals and other frontline workers, population beyond 65 years of age, people with co-morbidity are on the list of first priority.
Then the remaining 80 per cent of the total population would get the vaccine at free of cost in the second round.
The Health Ministry official said they would need the funds in the current and the next fiscal years.
The government has already contacted India and China for getting the vaccine upon their development.
The price of per unit vaccine has yet to be fixed as those are not developed by any companies in the world yet.
US Media NPR reports said Moderna, one of the companies leading the race for a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in the USA, has made deals with other countries to sell the vaccine for $32 to $37 per dose.
In July last, the US government struck a deal for an experimental vaccine being developed by Pfizer and partner BioNTech SE that secures enough to inoculate 50 million Americans for about $40 a person.
The China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) had announced that their potential vaccine could cost no more than 1,000 yuan ($144.27) for two shots.