• Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Covid-19: Mass vaccination drive begins in Bangladesh

  • Published at 11:26 am August 7th, 2021
Rangpur Covid vaccine
File photo: People stand in a queue to receive Covid vaccine at an inoculation centre in Rangpur as Bangladesh takes its vaccination drive to the grassroots on August 7, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

Those above 25 years of age are being vaccinated, but the elderly, women and physically challenged people are getting priority

As the ruthless Delta variant of Covid-19 keeps spreading like wildfire, Bangladesh on Saturday kicked off another phase of its vaccination drive aimed at inoculating 3.5 million people in six days.

Covid-19 jabs will be administered simultaneously in 4,600 unions, 1,054 municipality areas and 433 wards of the city corporations, DGHS Director General Dr ABM Khurshid Alam told the media on Friday.

With a fresh stock of Covid-19 vaccine doses at hand, the government’s aim is to inoculate 80% of its population, with each getting two doses.

Some 32,706 vaccinators and 48,459 volunteers have been roped in to make the vaccine drive a success.

Those above 25 years of age will be vaccinated, but priority would be given to the elderly, the women and physically-challenged persons, said Dr Khurshid.

"Some 3.5 million people will be vaccinated and those living in inaccessible remote areas will also be brought under the ambit of the drive," he said.

An elderly person is administered Covid vaccine at an inoculation centre in Magura's Beruli Polita union as Bangladesh begins its mass vaccination drive to take Covid vaccine to the grassroots on Saturday, August 7, 2021 Collected

Campaign timeline and areas

On Saturday, the vaccination campaign kicked off in all unions, municipalities and city corporation areas.

From August 8-9, jabs will be given to the residents of the excluded wards of unions and municipal areas where the campaign was already underway.

Between August 10 and 12, Rohingya refugees over 55 will get the Covid jabs.

Also Read - Health authorities plan to inoculate 3.2 million people in mass vaccination drive

"Since the inauguration of the mass inoculation drive in Bangladesh on February 7 this year, some 4,416,131 people have been fully vaccinated with two shots and 10,009,953 people have received the first dose," Dr Khurshid said.

Law enforcement personnel keep tabs on a crowd of Covid vaccine recipients at a makeshift inoculation centre in Tangail on August 7, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

Earlier in April, the government was forced to suspend the administration of the first dose of the Covid vaccine after the Indian government deferred the shipment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Bangladesh.

On December 13, 2020, Bangladesh signed a deal with Serum Institute of India to purchase 30 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the country was supposed to receive five million doses a month according to the deal.

Referring to the Health Ministry, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said that Bangladesh has a stock of 12.3 million vaccine doses and some of them [AstraZeneca] will be kept for the second dose.

He said that Bangladesh will receive another consignment of 3.4 million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine next week and six million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in the first week of September.

Covid situation in Bangladesh

Bangladesh added 248 fatalities to its national Covid-19 tally Friday, up from 212 logged a week earlier.

The country has been reporting over 200 single-day fatalities for the past two weeks as it races to head off a surge in Covid-19 cases driven by the unrelenting Delta variant.

After weathering the first wave of the pandemic, Bangladesh's health services are now stretched dangerously thin.

The Covid-19 infections are on the upswing, with 13,771 new cases being reported on average every day.

Bangladesh recorded 12,606 new cases on Friday after testing 48,015 samples, down from 13,862 logged a week earlier on July 30. 

There have been 1,335,260 cases and 22,150 coronavirus-related deaths here since the pandemic began, according to the DGHS.