Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque said the government is considering the possibilities of vaccinating people aged above 18 years against Covid-19 in a bid to bring maximum people under the vaccination coverage.
“Arrangements are being made to bring all citizens aged above 18 years under the vaccination coverage gradually in a bid to reactivate the country’s educational activities. The National Technical Advisory Committee has also given recommendation to this end,” he said.The health minister made the statement while inaugurating the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and outdoor department of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) at Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons (BCPS) in Mohakhali in the capital on Thursday.
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is determined to bring all citizens of the country under the vaccination programme,” he added.
Mentioning that currently 45 lakh vaccine jabs are available to the government, Zahid Maleque said the vaccination process has resumed in full swing across the country on July 14.
“Some 20 lakh Sinopharm vaccine doses have already come from China whereas more 1.5 crore vaccine jabs will reach the country in phases every month. At the same time, 29 lakh doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will also come to the government. Those who are waiting for the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine can now receive it,” he said.
The minister said more Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine jabs will also come to the country in the next month. “At this moment, we have the capacity of storing 3 crores of vaccine doses. So, if the jabs come from abroad, there will be no problem,” he added.
He said the process of recruiting 2,000 more doctors and 4,000 more nurses is underway to face the Covid-19 situation. “At the same time, process of appointing medical technologists is also going on.”Zahid Maleque said the number of infections and deaths from the virus has declined in North and South regions of the country. “The country has started reaping the benefits of the lockdown."
“However, people living in the villages are getting infected more for lack of awareness. They don't want to come to the hospital at the beginning. At the ward level, public representatives have been advised to go door to door to find patients,” he said.
Mentioning that instruction has been given to increase isolation beds in district and upazila level hospitals across the country to accommodate Covid-19 patients, the minister said seven thousand beds will be arranged to face the coroanvirus situation.
Zahid Maleque said in the future, the government will utilise national identity cards to benefit those who cannot register for the vaccine online due to living in the rural areas.
Turning to criticisms of the health sector, he said those who are spreading propaganda about the sector to confuse people should be criticised.
“No food crisis is prevailing in the country as industries are running. Health services are available everywhere. Then why so many conspiracies are being hatched against the heath sector? These are nothing but conspiracies to undermine the achievements of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he said.
DMCH director Brigadier General Nazmul Haque presided over the programme.