The vaccination campaign includes city corporation areas, union parishads and municipalities across the country
The government on Thursday will finalize its plan to vaccinate some 10 million people through the first ever week-long flash inoculation campaign.
“A draft has been prepared and a circular is expected to be made by tomorrow [Thursday] noon,” said a top official who attended the planning meeting on vaccination held Wednesday afternoon. The meeting was presided over by the principal secretary to the Prime Minister.
Top officials from districts, divisions and headquarters of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) attended the meeting.
The walk-in Covid-19 vaccination campaign for anyone over 18 years, which includes city corporation areas, union parishads and municipalities across the country, is set to begin from Saturday.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque on July 25 informed the media that as the government had ensured a regular supply of Covid-19 vaccines, planning was being done to vaccinate 10 million people in August.
On July 28, a draft plan for the vaccination program prepared by the DGHS was sent to the Health Ministry. The plan envisaged administering by union parishads and municipalities of the Sinopharm vaccine.
Within three days, the plan changed to include the city corporation areas since a good number of people in those areas are not tech-savvy and could not register despite being interested in taking vaccines, DGHS sources said.
Another DGHS official said initially it was planned to provide vaccines on three days but it might be lessened as there is an issue of completing registration of people later.
Nothing could be confirmed before the circular was issued, the official added.
Asked about the possible shortage of the vaccine in providing a second dose, a divisional director said it had been ensured that a further supply was on the way.
Prof Dr Sabrina Flora, acting director general of DGHS, and line director Dr Shamshul Haque could not be reached over the phone to learn about the upcoming vaccine consignment.
According to the current plan, the DGHS is planning to provide 8,680,000 doses of vaccine at union parishad booths and 632,400 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine at municipality booths, until more vaccines are procured.
The DGHS also decided to administer vaccines at 433 booths in city corporation areas across the country.
One of the divisional health directors of DGHS said the initial plan was to inoculate 200 people in each booth and set up booths in one centre of one ward out of three wards in a union parishad, one centre with one booth in municipalities and three booths in one centre at city corporation areas.
However, the number of booths might be changed, the official added.
Dhaka Tribune has contacted several civil surgeons and divisional directors but none of them, except one or two, wanted to ascertain the number of vaccination centres as they might be changed with Thursday's circular.
A DGHS official said according to the initial decision the capital city might have 130 temporary centres. However, there have been discussions over increasing the number to around 300 considering the huge population.
Rajshahi city health services sources said they would have 60 booths in 30 centres.
Who will get priority
“The union parishad members and ward councillors are tasked with taking people to the centres,” said the Rajshahi official.
The elderly, women, disabled people and freedom fighters would be the top priority groups on the first day of the program.
As there is no final decision made for the people aged above 18 who have no NIDs, the DGHS local units will accord priority to people with NIDs.
“But people without NIDs will not be driven away. A decision about them will be made soon,” he added.
Officials of the DGHS have given different versions of measures for the vaccination of those above 18 years of age but do not have NIDs.
The line director of the DGHS, Dr Shamsul Haque, member secretary of the vaccination deployment committee, earlier in this regard said certification from local representatives would be enough for one to get the vaccine.
However, the Director General of the DGHS, Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, on Wednesday afternoon told the media that the matter had been discussed with the Election Commission and if people who did not have NIDs approached the commission they would get their NIDs quicker.