• Saturday, Aug 13, 2022
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Health authorities plan to inoculate 3.2 million people in mass vaccination drive

  • Published at 02:28 pm August 6th, 2021
A health worker administers the Covid-19 vaccine to a man at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in Dhaka Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Vaccination at more than 15,000 centres across Bangladesh from Saturday

Amid the Delta variant-induced deadly wave of the coronavirus disease, Bangladesh plans to inoculate 3.2 million people in a mass vaccination drive, says the chief of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

At a media call on Friday, its Director General AMB Khurshid Alam provided details of the campaign, which kicks off on Saturday.

“The government is expanding the inoculation campaign. As part of that, as many as 3.2 million people will receive the first shot at over 15,000 vaccination centres across the country,” he said.

Earlier, Health Minister Zahid Maleque had said that around 10 million people will be inoculated during a week-long campaign, but the target has been trimmed back at the last minute.

Apart from giving individuals in rural regions access to the vaccine, the government has also dropped the age limit for vaccination to 25 years.

Despite calls to lower the eligibility age to 18, according to Khurshid Alam, the administration opted against it to avoid "chaos". 

“Many 18-year-olds do not have national ID cards. This will cause chaos. As a result, the vaccination age has been set at 25 instead of 18. Those who have previously signed up for the vaccination will receive it at the centres designated for them.”

Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam speaks at a press briefing on the nationwide mass vaccination drive for Covid-19, in Dhaka on Friday, August 6, 2021 | Collected

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Vaccines will also be given to persons who have been unable to register if they are at least 25 years old, he added. “However, women and people with disabilities in their 50s and people in remote areas will get priority.”

The vaccination campaign will begin on August 7 in all unions, municipalities, and city corporations across the country. Vaccine will be administered in remote areas on August 8 and 9, with members of the forcibly displaced Rohingya group over 55 being vaccinated from August 10 to 12.

"The immunization program will be carried out concurrently in 4,600 unions, 1,054 municipalities, and 433 wards in city corporations across the country by 32,706 vaccinators and 48,459 volunteers," Khurshid stated.

Despite a vaccine deficit in the country, the administration is determined to vaccinate everyone, according to Khurshid Alam. In addition, steps are being conducted to manufacture the vaccine in the country, he said.

He urged everyone to put their "negative sentiments and superstitions" aside and get the vaccine.

Different statements have been made over the vaccination drive from various sources. But, neither the health ministry nor the health directorate are liable for all of those claims, said Khurshid Alam.

“We won't be able to cover a substantial section of the population unless we can conduct a large-scale vaccination campaign. For us, this is a test run to gather experience,” he added.

Bangladesh launched its nationwide vaccination program on February 7. More than 14 million doses of four types of vaccines have been administered to date, including the first and second doses.