Nationwide vaccination program starts February 7
A trial run of the Covid-19 vaccine program in Bangladesh is set to get underway on Wednesdat, with 25 frontline workers inoculated in the first batch.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the trial virtually at Kurmitola General Hospital around 3:30pm. Three senior staff nurses and three doctors will receive the first six doses, according to hospital sources.
In a continuation of the trial run, a further 690 people will be vaccinated at the five government hospitals in Dhaka on Thursday.
The condition of all the initial recipients of the vaccine will be monitored for seven days, before the nationwide vaccination campaign begins on February 7, Health Minister Zahid Maleque has said.
DGHS sources said lists with names of all the recipients of the vaccine in the trial run had already been prepared.
Dhaka Medical College Hospital Director Big Gen Nazmul Huda said around 100 frontline workers, including 20 doctors, 20 nurses and other government staff at the hospital, would get the vaccine on Thursday.
During the actual vaccination program, altogether 294 teams will administer vaccines at 45 healthcare centres in Dhaka city. A further 6,431 teams will administer vaccines at 5,268 centres outside the capital, according to the DGHS.
The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) has already cleared use of the first shipment of 5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII).
India’s gift of 2 million vaccines to be used in Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj
The DGHS has altered its vaccine distribution plan slightly to include the 2 million Covid-19 vaccines gifted by India, DGHS Line Director (MNC and AH) Dr Shamsul Haque has said.
“Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj are three major centres of the pandemic in Bangladesh. We are planning to use the 2 million vaccines gifted by India in these three districts, while the 5 million doses in the first official shipment will be used in the rest of the country,” he added.
The original vaccination plan was announced on January 25. According to the plan, 10 districts of Dhaka division will get 626,109 doses of the vaccine from the first shipment, Barisal division 335,857 doses, Chittagong division 1,248,825 doses, Mymensingh division 484,560 doses, Khulna division 591,309 doses, Rajshahi division 693,972 doses, Rangpur division 606,116 doses and Sylhet 413,250 doses.
DGDA Director General Maj Gen Md Mahbubur Rahman in an unscheduled press briefing said the authorities were yet to issue release certificates for the 2 million vaccine doses gifted by India, as the Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD) was yet to submit necessary documents.
He added that CMSD had been asked to submit the relevant papers as soon as possible.
People want Covid-19 vaccine, but after delay
A survey by the Institute of Health Economy (IHE) has found that 84% of respondents are willing to take the vaccine if it is free, but most would rather wait than take the vaccine immediately.
The survey was conducted on 3,560 randomly selected respondents from January 10-25. IHE Director Dr Syed Abdul Hamid presented the findings.
“Among people willing to take the vaccine, 52% said they would prefer to wait a few months before taking it,” he said.
However, over 80% of the respondents said they would be willing to take the vaccine immediately if all information on the vaccine was presented to them in a satisfactory way. As things stood, only 32% were willing to take the vaccine immediately, Dr Syed Abdul Hamid added.
Among the respondents who want to delay taking the vaccine, 54% said they want to delay because they question the effectiveness of the vaccine, while 34% said they want to delay out of fear of side effects.
The remaining 12% said they want to delay taking the vaccine because they question its quality.
Surprisingly, more residents of rural areas were willing to take the vaccine than residents of urban areas, the IHE director said.