Over 55 per cent of the Covid-19 patients who have so far died in the country were aged over 60 years as the elderly citizens are at higher risk of developing severe forms of coronavirus.
Although the Covid-19 positivity rate is on a gradual fall in the country, the elderly people feature most in the tally of the virus casualties every day, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).“If the elderly people are infected with coronavirus, the risk of mortality rate remains high. The weak immune response and co-morbidity are main reasons behind pushing the elderly people into the high risk of Covid-19 infection,” Dr Nazrul Islam, a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, told the Daily Sun.
He underscored the need for vaccinating them on a priority basis.
Meanwhile, over 80,000 people have registered online as of Wednesday evening to take the Covid-19 vaccine, said Prof Dr Mijanur Rahman, director (MIS) of the DGHS.
Talking to reporters earlier in the morning after a meeting with directors of medical college hospitals, DGHS Director General Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam said they have strengthened the campaign involving public representatives as well as through advertisements to encourage people to receive the vaccine.
He said the registration for Covid-19 vaccination is a continuous process and it will continue even after February 5.
The DGHS chief said Health Minister Zahid Maleque and other health officials will take the jab on the first day of the vaccination campaignscheduled to begin on February 7.
According to the DGHS, Bangladesh has reported 536,545 infections and 8,162 deaths from coronavirus till Wednesday.
The current mortality death rate in the country stands at 1.52 per cent, it said, adding that among the deceased, 6,188 (75.81 percent) were males and 1,974 (24.19 percent) females.
The DGHS said 4,523 (55.42pc) of the deceased were aged above 60 while 2,039 (24.98pc) between 51-60, 933 (11.43pc) between 41-50, 404 (4.95pc) between 31-40, 162 (2.02pc) between 21-30, 62 (0.76pc) between 11-20 and 36 (0.44pc) were aged between 0-10 years.
“We’ve kept the elderly people on our priority list of Covid-19 vaccination. Currently, people aged above 55 can register for the vaccination along with the front-line fighters as the vaccine will be given in phases as per the priority list,” Dr Md Shamsul Haque, line director (MNC & AH) of the DGHS, said.
Earlier, Prof Dr Nasima Sultana, additional director general of the DGHS, said, “We have to pay special attention to the elderly people to keep them protected from Covid-19.”
Health experts advised senior citizens to stay at home and adhere to health guidelines, and not to venture outdoors in a bid to keep them protected from the deadly pathogen.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), older people and people of all ages with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease and cancer appear to develop serious illness more often than others.
“Although all age groups are at risk of contracting Covid-19, older people face significant risk of developing severe illness if they contract the disease due to physiological changes that come with ageing and potential underlying health conditions,” it added.
“As you get older, your risk for severe illness from Covid-19 increases. For example, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the US.
“Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from Covid-19 is among those aged 85 or older,” it added.
According to a list of the DGHS, around 25 million people aged from 64 to 80 years or more will get the Covid-19 vaccine on a per priority basis.
It said around 24,75,000 people aged 64-66 years, 24,75,000 aged 67-69, 20,06879 aged 70-73, 9,53,153 aged 74-76, 11,03,653 aged 77-79, 13,12,973 aged 80 years or above and a large number of people aged from 55 years to 63 are on the priority list.