The COVID-19 vaccines from the Serum Institute of India are likely to arrive in Bangladesh at end of this month and the government’s vaccination programme on priority basis may begin next month.
Instead of waiting for the government vaccines, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) itself has decided to purchase vaccines to immunise the cricketers and the people involved with the cricket.
BCB chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury confirmed Prothom Alo on Wednesday.
As per the government’s month-wise vaccination plan, 10,932 players from the national teams of all games will get COVID-19 shots in the second and the third months.
As the cricketers have a busy schedule ahead, BCB doesn’t want to wait for vaccine. Beximco Pharmaceuticals is the local supplier of Serum Institute’s vaccines. Being the managing director of Beximco, the president of BCB, Nazmul Hasan, wants to take the opportunity to purchase the vaccine from Beximco on priority basis.
Nizamuddin Chowdhury said, “When the private sale of vaccines will start in the country, BCB will not make delay to buy it. A policy decision has been taken in this regard. We will purchase it under Beximco’s corporate sale progamme.”
In addition to supplying COVID-10 vaccines to the government, Beximco will sell one million (10 lakh) doses to interested corporate companies at a price fixed by the government.
Sources said, demand for vaccines from different interested corporate companies to Beximco has already exceeded four million (40 lakh). The company will start corporate sale next month.
Regarding the BCB’s move to purchase vaccine despite the government’s initiative, Nizamuddin Chowdhury said, “National team cricketers are included in the government’s priority list. But, other support staff involved with the game are not on the priority list. For this reason, this decision has been taken.”
The amount of vaccine doses BCB will purchase from Beximco has not been finalised yet. However, BCB plans to bring broad officials and employees, umpires, match referees and scorers, coaches and people involved with the game under the vaccination programme. Two shots will be purchased per person.
The BCB CEO said, “We can’t only immunise the cricketers. All involved with cricket activities must be brought (under vaccination). We want cricket is no longer hampered due to coronavirus after the vaccine arrives.”
Though domestic cricket began last season, the Premier Cricket League was postponed on 22 March last year due to coronavirus. After a seven-month break, BCB arranged two domestic tournaments experimentally from October to December last year, keeping the players in bio-secure bubble.
National team members and several others mostly played in both tournaments. Majority of the cricketers have not returned to the field yet after the impact of coronavirus. Fixtures of current season’s domestic cricket have not been fixed yet.
Earlier, BCB president Nazmul Hasan said, the board would not risk starting the domestic tournaments regularly until the vaccine arrives.
As the opportunity of purchasing vaccines has arisen, BCB is mulling to immunise the players of domestic cricketers along with the cricketers of national, women’s, and different age-groups’ teams.
Nizamuddin Chowdhury said, they are considering immunisation for the cricketers and people concerned before the Premiere Cricket League and the First Class game begins.