Nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive begins Sunday

Mohammad Al Amin

5th February, 2021 10:48:44 printer

Nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive begins Sunday

The government’s vaccination programme against coronavirus will start on Sunday with a target of inoculating 3.5 million people in the first month of first phase.

According to Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), around 2.5 lakh people registered through website for coronavirus vaccine across the country till Friday as the frontline fighters in 18 categories and the people above 55 in another category are now allowed to register for the vaccination in the first phase.

“A total of 2,45,000 people registered for vaccine till 2pm on Friday. We have taken measures to increase the number of registration for vaccination. We are carrying out various activities, including sending messages in mobile phones and publishing advertisements. Local administration at the grass roots will also carry out campaign to make people aware,” Prof Dr Mijanur Rahman, director (MIS) of the DGHS, told the Daily Sun.

He said the DGHS has taken various initiatives to ensure a smooth registration process for vaccine seekers as the health workers will go to vaccine seekers’ doorsteps to support them in online registration across the country.

At the same time, union digital centres will also help people register for vaccine and the vaccine seekers can also register physically visiting the vaccine centres across the country, the DGHS sources said.

The health and family welfare ministry said the government has decided to inoculate 3.5 million people in the first month of vaccination programme.

The country now has a stock of 7 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine, of which the government procured 5 million doses from Serum Institute of India and the rest were gifted by the Indian government.

Two doses of the Covishield vaccine will be given to each vaccine recipient in an eight-week interval.

Dr Md Robed Amin, line director (NCDC) and spokesperson for the DGHS, earlier said a total of 7,343 centres will be set up all over the country, including 324 in the capital, to run the vaccination drive.

“There’ll be two vaccination centres in every upazila health complex while four in district-level hospitals and eight in medical colleges or specialised hospitals. However, all centres may not start work at the same time. The vaccine centres will work as per the need,” he said.

At least one hundred people will be given vaccine daily at every vaccine centre across the country, the DGHS sources said.

Each of the vaccination team is comprised of two vaccinators and four volunteers while the vaccinators include nurses, sub-assistant community medical officers and family welfare inspectors.

The DGHS has also asked not to grant leave to health workers until February 10 in a bid to ensure the smooth rollout of Covid-19 vaccine across the country.

“The vaccine centres will carry out the vaccination from 9am to 3pm round the week except Friday. We have initially planned to carry out the programme for two weeks. If our target of inoculating 3.5 million people is not completed by the time, then it may continue for more days,” Dr Md Shamsul Haque, Line Director (MNC & AH) of the DGHS, told the Daily Sun.

The DGHS has already reached vaccines to district level and the vaccines have been kept in EPI stores. 

Prof Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, additional director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), recently said four lakh doses of the vaccines have been allocated for Dhaka district.

Health minister Zahid Maleque on Thursday said the government has decided to inoculate 3.5 million people. "We will get vaccine throughout the year, we will continue vaccinating people," he said.

The minister will receive vaccine at Sheikh Russel Gastroliver Institute & Hospital in the capital on Sunday, the ministry sources said.

The first consignment of vaccines that Bangladesh will receive under the World Health Organization-led international platform Covax could arrive by April-May, the health minister said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the vaccination programme virtually when 26 front liners received Covishield vaccine in Kurmitola General Hospital on January 27. And 541 others received the vaccine in five hospitals in the capital on the next day.

A total of 567 people who received their first doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine were under observation for seven days.

The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) sources and some vaccine recipients said no major side effect of the vaccine has been found yet among the vaccine recipients.

The government is procuring three crore doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by June under a deal with the Serum Institute of India. The country will also receive some 6.8 crore doses of the same vaccine from the global vaccine alliance GAVI under the COVAX facility.

Bangladesh plans to inoculate 80 percent of its population and the Covid-19 shots will be administered in five stages under three phases, according to the national vaccine distribution and preparation plan.