Inoculations see gradual decline
With the vaccination of 78,817 people on Wednesday, Bangladesh has administered the first dose of the Covid-19 jab to over five million people in 38 business days.
After inaugurating the program on January 27, the government initiated the nationwide vaccination campaign on February 7. Inoculations remain suspended on Fridays and public holidays.
Experts are of the opinion that more people should have been immunized against Covid-19 in the mentioned time frame.
They attributed the lower number of vaccinations in recent days to the lack of coordination among government entities and the virtually non-existent awareness campaign.
Of the 5,069,049 people inoculated until Wednesday, 3,168,994 were men and 1,900,055 were women, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). At least 923 people had reported side effects after receiving the jab.
As many as 6,467,789 citizens had signed up to get vaccinated till 5:30pm on Wednesday.
Some 133,396 people had been vaccinated every day on average and the health authorities said they had the capacity to inoculate over 350,000 people daily.
It took the health authorities eight days to vaccinate the first one million people. The country inoculated another million people in the next four days.
Since then, however, Bangladesh’s vaccination drive saw a gradual decline.
The next three clusters of one million people were administered their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in six, eight and 12 days, respectively.
Dhaka Division saw the highest number of vaccinations (1,580,172) while Barisal saw the lowest (227,074).
The DGHS had initially planned to inoculate six million people in the first month of the campaign.
Infection after inoculation
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the vaccination campaign would continue despite the recent surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths.
He also forewarned that infection could occur even after receiving the vaccine and asked everyone to act accordingly.
Eminent virologist Dr Nazrul Islam said the masses held a common belief that they did not need to adhere to hygiene rules after receiving the vaccine.
“The first dose may help decrease the severity of the illness but it does not 100% prevent a person from getting infected,” he said.
“The increase in antibodies can be determined a few days after a person is administered his second dose of the vaccine,” the professor added.
It is to be noted that the health authorities will start administering the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from April 8.
Praising the vaccination campaign, Dr Nazrul said the capacity should have been increased and also mentioned the failure of the authorities in achieving their target.
“The target number could have been met had there been no communication gap between the people and the authorities,” he remarked.