Temporary facilities may be set up in various areas to ensure access to vaccination for marginalized communities
The government is planning to engage non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in efforts to reach out to and vaccinate disadvantaged people for Covid-19, a top health official has told Dhaka Tribune.
He also said the government was contemplating whether to set up temporary facilities for the vaccination of marginalized communities.
Currently, the affluent and educated segments of society with access to technology are reaping the most benefit from the countrywide vaccination campaign. Most marginalized communities are being left behind as they have limited access to the technology needed for vaccine registration.
Nearly 5.5 million people have registered online and over 4.3 million people have already received the first of two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. The nationwide vaccination campaign kicked off little over a month ago, prioritizing frontline workers and people over the age of 40.
Of the people vaccinated, the overwhelming majority belongs to affluent and educated segments of society. A health official in charge of Covid-19 vaccination at a large hospital in Dhaka said the ratio of people vaccinated so far is 90:10 in favour of privileged people.
The situation with respect to vaccination for disadvantaged people is a little better in towns and villages than in big cities, because people can get vaccinated there after registering on the spot even though on-the-spot registration was halted after the first few days of the campaign due to some management issues.
On the spot registration is still not available in major cities of the country.
“We are aware of the situation and we are not indifferent to it,” Dr Shamsul Haque, member-secretary of the Covid-19 vaccine management committee at the Directorate General of Health Services, told this correspondent.
“We are contemplating different measures as to how we can include everybody in the vaccination program,” he said.
Dr Haque said: “We have just begun the vaccination in a sort of limited manner. Once the system is on firm footing and the vaccination can be conducted on much larger scale after ensuring adequate vaccines in coming days, we will devise different mechanisms to ensure inclusiveness.
“We are planning to engage NGOs with experience and ability to work with the disadvantaged people, so that the people belonging to marginalized communities can be vaccinated. We may also go to them to vaccinate after setting up temporary facilities.
“There are some other ways that we are thinking about. It is our objective to vaccine every eligible citizen of the country,” he added.