Overcoming all hesitations and fear, people have been receiving the Covid-19 vaccine spontaneously across the country.
Hospital sources said many people were hesitant about receiving the vaccine in the first few days after the start of the nationwide vaccination programme, as they feared side effects and were confused by some rumours against the vaccine.But later, the number of vaccine recipients has started increasing as people from all walks of life started realising the importance of vaccine and receiving it spontaneously.
Expressing her feelings after receiving vaccine, Shaheda Khatun, a senior citizen aged 80 and resident of Thakurgaon sadar upazila, told the Daily Sun, “I’m happy receiving the vaccine as I didn’t experience any side effect after taking the shot.”
Another elderly man who received the vaccine at the NICVD in the capital said, “I’m excited and happy receiving the Covid-19 vaccine as my daughters who live Canada are yet to get the vaccine.”
The Bangladesh government has been administering the coronavirus vaccine to all of its citizens across the country free of cost.
Currently, the first dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being administered across the country and the government has planned to start giving the second dose from April 7.
“Our vaccination programme against Covid-19 goes on in full swing. Initially, the programme is going ahead with a plan to inoculate 60 lakh people in first phase,” Dr Md Shamsul Haque, line director (MNC & AH) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told the Daily Sun.A total of 90 lakh doses of the Covishield vaccine have come to the country as the government has purchased 70 lakh doses from Serum Institute of India (SII) and got 20 lakh more from the government of India as gift.
“The second dose of Covid-19 vaccine will be given from April after two months of the first shot,” Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque said recently.
He said the World Health Organization (WHO) says that immunity becomes strong if the second dose is taken after eight weeks of receiving the first dose.
He, however, said, “All the plans for vaccination depend on availability of the vaccine. If we get the vaccine less than our demand, the vaccination rate will also be lower.”
According to the health ministry, there will be no shortage of Covid-19 vaccine in the country as the government may get around 10 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine in the first stage. The government has already signed deal for 3 crore Covishield vaccine and will get more than double of it under the COVAX facility.
The Bangladesh government has signed an agreement with Serum Institute of India (SII) to purchase 3 crore doses of vaccine. As per deal, the SII is scheduled to send 50 lakh vaccines in every month. Following the deal, the government has already received 50 lakh vaccine in January and 20 lakh in February.
The ministry sources said the country may get more than 50 lakh vaccine from the Serum Institute of India next month.
Besides, The Covax programme, led by the World Health Organization and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, committed to giving Bangladesh a total of 6.8 crore vaccine shots.
The health and family welfare ministry has made a list of categories of front liners to provide the vaccine while general people aged 40 years and above also are getting the vaccine.
“We’re giving vaccine doses to general people aged 40 years and above. There are four crore of people aged 40 years and above in Bangladesh,” the health minister said.
According to the health ministry, in its plan, people under 18, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and seriously ill people will not be given the coronavirus vaccine.
The Covid-19 vaccination is going on in 1,010 centres and around 3,000 booths all over the country.
“There is no plan to increase the number of vaccine centre or booth in a bid to conduct the programme smoothly. However, if necessary we can revise the decision in the next,” Dr Shamsul Haque said.
A total of 44,13,892 people registered online to receive the Covid-19 vaccine till 5:30pm on Monday.
Meanwhile, a total of 32,26,825 people have so far received the first dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine against the coronavirus in the country.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has issued directives for procurement of another three crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as the nationwide first round of vaccination campaign is underway.
Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the vaccination programme virtually on January 27 and the nationwide vaccination started on February 7.
Even leaders of opposition political parties who earlier criticised the vaccination programme against Covid-19 and the Covishield vaccine, which is being used here, are now receiving the vaccine.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) senior leaders, including Mirza Abbas and his wife Afroza Abbas, have already received the coronavirus vaccine and they are now doing well without any severe side effects.