The government will go ahead with the Covid-19 vaccination campaign with the Moderna and Sinopharm vaccines in stock
The countrywide mass vaccination program for Covid-19, which was suspended in April due to shortage of shots caused by a supply crunch, will resume next week, according to health directorate officials.
To this end, the registration process for vaccination will be reopened for all on Thursday, they added.
The decision came at a meeting on Sunday of the Covid-19 Vaccine Preparedness and Deployment Core Committee, which operates under the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
Speaking to Bangla Tribune on Monday, Dr Shamsul Haque, member of the vaccine deployment committee, said: “We sat in a meeting on Sunday and took these decisions. We are in the process of informing the Ministry of Information of these decisions. People will be able to get the [Covid] jabs once registration for vaccination is resumed.”
With Bangladesh recently receiving large consignments of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from the US under the Covax program and the first consignment of the purchased Sinopharm vaccine coming from China, the government has decided to resume the vaccination program. Meanwhile, the country continues to experience an alarming rise in Covid-19 infections.
Dr Shamsul Haque said: "We now have two types of vaccines in hand. A few days ago, 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in the country and 2 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine have also arrived. There were 1.1 million doses of the Sinopharm previously available in the country. So, we have a substantial amount of vaccine doses now.”
He added that the Moderna vaccine would be administered in 12 city corporation areas, while the Sinopharm vaccines would be administered at the district and upazila levels.
He noted that as the Moderna vaccine was temperature sensitive and had to be kept in -20°C temperature, it would be administered in the city corporation areas.
The Sinopharm vaccine can be kept in 2°C to 8°C temperature. Therefore, this vaccine would be administered at the district and upazila levels.
Additionally, if two types of vaccine were provided to the same centre there might be confusion and storing them in two different temperatures might be a problem as well. That was why this decision had been taken, added Dr Haque.
He said that the vaccines would be provided at the previous vaccination centres at the district and upazila levels.
Dr Shamsul Haque said that anyone over 35 years of age could get vaccinated by registering through the government’s Surokkha platform. He said there were 18 categories on the priority list for vaccination but residential students of universities, expatriate workers, medical and nursing students had been included in the second phase of the administering of the Sinopharm vaccine.
The prime minister has directed adding farmers, workers and students in this priority list as well.
Directives are being provided to the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges and Ministry of Industries and Commerce to formulate a list of farmers and workers, according to which the vaccines will be provided.
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Since the registration process was being handled by the Information and Technology Department through Surokkha, they would also be notified, said Dr Haque.
The DGHS has already completed the Moderna vaccine administration training program and will be distributing Moderna and Sinopharm vaccines across the country. Training will also be provided at the upazila and district levels for administering the Sinopharm vaccine.