Only maintaining health guidelines properly can ensure maximum protection against the coronavirus as neglecting the health guidelines may invite the deadly virus even after vaccination, health experts said.
There is no alternative to following the preventive measures like wearing face masks, even after getting the Covid-19 vaccine as the efficacy of the vaccines is not confirmed yet, they added.“People must follow the health guidelines including wearing face mask even after getting vaccinated to prevent infection as scientists are not sure how much protection the current vaccines can give against Covid-19,” Dr Nazrul Islam, a member of National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, told the Daily Sun.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), the number of daily cases and infection rate has been increasing for last over one weak across the country including in Dhaka.
Data of the DGHS said a total of 1,052 new Covid-19 cases were detected on Thursday while the number was 1,018 on Wednesday. The infection rate was also recorded at 5.82 per cent on Thursday.
The coronavirus infection rate was declining after November 30 last year till February 13 this year but it further started rising after February 14.
“Ignorance of the health guidelines may be reasons behind raising the coronavirus infection while decreasing viral interference may be another reason behind it. The infection may rise this summer,” Dr Nazrul Islam, former Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), said.
Talking to journalists after attending a programme at the National Institute of Ophthalmology & Hospital, health and family welfare minister Zahid Maleque on Thursday said the daily infection case rate earlier came down to around 2 per cent but it has now risen to near 6 per cent.“It’s alarming. We have become desperate as we are either not wearing masks or using less. We are also feeling annoyed about maintaining social distance. We are also holding social programmes which have caused a rise in infection,” he said.
The health minister further said people have become reckless in their movement without following health guidelines, particularly after getting vaccinated.
"Letter has been sent to the district administration to take appropriate steps. We have written to limit the number of public gatherings and, if possible, to suspend them," the minister added. He said they have asked different government and non-government hospitals to keep their hospitals and Covid-19 designated beds prepared and to arrange necessary treatment for the coronavirus patients.
Zahid Maleque said Bangladesh is on the priority list of COVAX as an additional supply of 1.9 crore doses of vaccines may arrive here before June from the World Health Organization.
He reiterated that vaccines that are scheduled to be imported from India will arrive timely this month.
“It should not be thought that taking the first dose of vaccine has made us coronavirus-free. Immunity will not be confirmed even after the first dose of vaccination. The protection will be strengthened after taking the second dose of the vaccine. No protection will be created before taking the second dose,” the health minister said.
He said the health sector is working to bring 80 per cent of people under the vaccination in phases as over 53 lakh people have already registered for the vaccine and over 41 lakh people received the vaccine.
The country’s 4 crore people will be given the coronavirus vaccine as the age limit of people has been fixed 40, for the vaccination, he said adding “if more vaccine arrives then we can consider changing the age limit.” Mentioning that educational institutions are scheduled to reopen from March 30, Zahid Maleque said teachers, employees and students will be given the vaccine before the date.
“Any rise and fall in coronavirus infections depend on whether people follow preventive measures or not. If people maintain hygiene and wear masks, there’ll be no spike in fresh cases,” Prof Dr Tahmina Shirin, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) said.
The health experts said single-dose vaccine against the virus is not enough to give full protection against the deadly pathogen as many people are now staying relaxed and moving without maintaining the health guidelines.