Around two lakh people will be vaccinated for Covid-19 every day across the country as per the priority list under the vaccination programme.
“We are considering vaccinating the frontliners first. Frontliners including doctors, nurses, police personnel and journalists will get the vaccine first,” Health Minister Zahid Maleque said while talking to reporters after a meeting at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in the city on Tuesday.Asked whether the President and Prime Minister will take the Covid-19 vaccine at the beginning, he said no such decision has been made yet.
Zahid Maleque said 28,000 volunteers will work to run the vaccination programme.
“Four teams will work in the district level, two teams in upazila level and six teams will work in medical colleges. Some teams also will work in different hospitals and government institutions. Initially, we will drop union level as the vaccine will be given in city corporation, district and upazila level,” he added.
India will send two million Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccines by Thursday, as gift to Dhaka in addition to the purchase of 30 million doses of the same vaccine by Bangladesh government, from Serum Institute of India.
Asked whether vaccination schedule will change after the arrival of two million vaccines from India on Thursday, the health minister said if vaccines arrive early it would be administered early.
“If we get the vaccines from India then we will start our vaccination activities a little bit early. It will take some times to reach the vaccine across the country. We will start our work at a time after the arrival of the vaccines. The vaccination will start from Dhaka,” he added.The government earlier planned to start the vaccination from the first week of February.
Zahid Maleque said he will receive the vaccine consignment from India at the airport.
Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, Director General of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said after arrival, the vaccines will be kept at cold storages of Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD), EPI and Tejgaon Health Complex.
He said after getting the first consignment of the vaccine, the vaccination programme will start in all districts across the country at a time.
“Initially, few health workers will be given the vaccine to observe the situation. Then after a week, the vaccination will start,” the DGHS chief said.
Zahid Maleque on Monday said the first lot of imported Covid-19 vaccines may arrive in the country from India by January 25 or 26.
“We hope that the vaccine may come even before the arrival of the shipment of 50 lakh (Oxford-Astrazeneca) vaccines. However, the gift pack from India may be Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine,” Zahid Maleque said.
He said 42,000 vaccinators and volunteers are being trained to conduct the coronavirus vaccination programme across the country.
Meanwhile, the National Advisory Committee on Covid-19 advised the government to carry out anti-body test through appropriate sampling after giving the second dose of the vaccine to detect whether the vaccine is effective or not.
They also advised keeping the vaccine receivers under observation for at least 30 minutes after the vaccination to see any side effects of the vaccine and take measures if any side effect is found.
According to the Indian high commission in Dhaka, the government of India will send two million doses of Oxford-Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine (Covishield) made by Serum Institute of India, as a gesture of support to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh authority has been asked to confirm that no testing would be carried out on the vaccines and to confirm that the storage facility for the vaccine is near the airport and that the facility has temperature control to ensure storage between 2 degrees to 8 degrees Celsius.
The consignment of the vaccines will be transported to Dhaka from India by a special flight of Air India, the sources added.
Bangladesh foreign ministry also has sent a letter to the chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) requesting to waive all types of taxes from the consignment of the vaccine India will be sending as a gift.