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Bangladesh can make a financial benefit worth Tk 1740b if the country can vaccinate 70 per cent of their population in next two years, World Bank said in its report.

Some Tk 100 billion will require to vaccinate 70 per cent of its people.

The World Bank in the report said the economy will be benefited immensely if herd immunity is created among the people.

Recently, the World Bank published a report titled 'South Asia Economic Focus Spring 2021: South Asia Vaccinates', depicting three scenarios of investment on Covid-19 inoculation across South Asian countries including Bangladesh.

Besides, the report provides some descriptions about the potential outcomes of the investment.

The report assesses that around 188,000 Covid-19 deaths would have been averted and 20 per cent of the GDP saved if the vaccination started in the South Asian region during the first wave of the pandemic.

The World Bank report, however, reminds that there is less possibility of economic recovery soon after a mass-level inoculation.

It would take time to regain the lost investment and growth because many business ventures became bankrupted and a huge number of workers lost their jobs.

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The report says mass-level inoculation would facilitate quick recovery of the economy.

Zahid Hussain, a former lead economist at Dhaka office of the World Bank, said the time is not preferable to calculate the cost of vaccination.

“The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are granting money. Hence, sourcing the expense of vaccination is not a big challenge. Vaccination is the best alternative for the economic recovery,” Zahid Hussain said.

He expressed his concern about the timely arrival of the Covid-19 vaccines.

“Given the pace of vaccines import, uncertainty looms over vaccinating 70 per cent of the population in the next two years,” he said adding that meeting the daily demand of vaccines as per the goal of vaccinating minimum 130 million of people seems a big challenge to the government.

3 scenarios

Analysing the possible sources of money, vaccines and other related issues, the World Bank depicts three scenarios of investment for Covid-19 inoculation. Bangladesh would need $1.92 billion or Tk16,000 crore (160 billion) to vaccinate its 70 per cent of population in next two years if two doses of Covid-19 vaccine cost $19 or Tk1,615 (when $1 is equal to Tk85) in total. World Bank considers this scenario as ‘pessimistic’.

Bangladesh would require $1.36 billion or Tk11,000 crore (110 billion) to vaccinate 70 per cent of people if two doses of Covid-19 vaccines cost $16-$17 in total. World Bank terms this scenario as ‘realistic’.

The country would require $1.17 billion or Tk10,000 (100 billion) to vaccinate same amount of population if the two doses cost minimum $6. The scenario seems ‘optimistic’ to the World Bank. The costs are estimated with the price of COVAX vaccine.

Considering the third scenario, the World Bank report says Bangladesh would require .10 per cent of its GDP in 2021 and .23 per cent of its GDP in 2022 to vaccinate its 70 per cent of population.

If the targeted population is vaccinated by 2021, herd immunity would be created in the country, the report says.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print and online editions, has been rewritten in English by Sadiqur Rahman

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