Government plans to administer 20 million vaccines per month from September
The government has decided to allow in-person activities at the medical colleges and nursing institutes in the country from September 13 in phases.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque made the announcement during a press briefing at the Secretariat on Thursday afternoon.
Asked about the reopening of schools, colleges and public universities, he said an inter-ministerial meeting would make a decision on the matter soon.
“Schools will reopen following the vaccination of the students, who are going to receive Moderna or Pfizer vaccines on a priority basis,” the minister said.
“Some European countries as well as the US have administered Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to school-goers. We are also considering these two shots to inoculate the students,” he added.
Regarding other sources of Covid vaccines, he said the government was still optimistic about receiving further shipments of vaccines from the Serum Institute of India (SII).
“They must return the advance payment if they fail to hold up their end of the bargain.”
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Bangladesh had yet to receive 23 million vaccine vials from the SII under a purchase agreement, he said.
So far, around 18.67 million people in the country have received their first Covid-19 jabs and some 8.2 million got both doses as of Wednesday.
The health authorities currently have 12.2 million vaccines in hand, according to the minister.
More vaccines to arrive
The minister said Bangladesh would get 20 million Sinopharm vaccine doses from China each month from October for three months.
On top of that, the government had also signed an agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO) to get 105 million vaccines, he added.
The government had already spent Tk3,000 crore to buy the vaccines, he added.
“We plan to administer 20 million vaccines per month from September,” the health minister said. The elderly, students and teachers would get priority in the vaccination.
The minister stated that the Covid situation in the country had improved. “The 24-hour infection rate was around 11% yesterday [Wednesday]. It has dropped considerably from 32% [recorded earlier].”
He said: “Around 75% of the beds in Covid-19-dedicated hospitals are unoccupied now. But if we roam around without adhering to hygiene rules, the situation may deteriorate again.”
Responding to a question regarding the dengue menace, the minister said that he would instruct the city corporation authorities to beef up anti-mosquito drives.