Completing the second dose drive will not be an issue as multiple vaccine consignments are due, says the DGHS chief
The government will start administering the second dose of Covid-19 vaccines under the countrywide walk-in mass inoculation drive from September 7.
People can get their second shots from the same vaccination centre they got their first dose, said Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, the director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
Talking to reporters during an event in Dhaka on Wednesday, he said that completing the second dose will not be an issue as Bangladesh is due to receive multiple vaccine consignments from China and the US, including six million more doses from Pfizer.
Asked whether people would be able to get the second dose without SMS notifications, he said a meeting on the issue will be held on Wednesday and DGHS will share the decision afterwards through a press release.
Dr Alam added: "We have 3.5 million shots in stock right now and another five million Sinopharm vaccines will arrive on August 30. They will be enough to vaccinate them all."
He added that the government was also purchasing 30 RT-PCR machines to increase the Covid-19 testing capacity around the country.
Also, the special equipment to operate the GeneXpert machines, a kind of RT-PCR testing apparatus, in the upazilas have also been managed, he said.
The DGHS chief made the remarks while addressing an event at the Central Medical Stores Depot auditorium where 300 out of 560 portable ICU ventilators, gifted by expatriate Bangladeshis for Covid-19 patients, were distributed among the authorities concerned.
Until Tuesday, Bangladesh recorded 25,513 deaths from Covid-19 and 1,472,964 cases since March last year.
On the other hand, a total of 1,381,763 Covid-19 patients recovered from the infectious disease at the same across the country.
Latest on vaccination
In order to vaccinate the mass population quickly, the government started a six-day walk-in vaccination program at the union and ward levels from August 7 after receiving Sinopharm doses from China and Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca doses under the Covax scheme.
Even though the walk-in inoculation, requiring only the national identity cards, received good response, the process was marred by a shortage of vaccine doses and complaints of mismanagement.
The completion of the second dose will most likely be the end of walk-in vaccination as the government has decided not to conduct those anymore.
However, the regular vaccination program will continue with people registering online through the Surokkha website. They will get their doses after receiving the text message.
On Monday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said that the government hopes to inoculate some 70 to 80 million people against the coronavirus by January or February next year.
The minister said that Bangladesh is expected to receive another six million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by September and an additional one million doses through the World Health Organization.
According to the minister, the government has placed an order of 75 million doses from China and also agreed to buy vaccines from the World Health Organisation.
Currently, around 16.6 million citizens are on the second dose waiting list, while 15 million registered people are waiting for their first shot.