The government has placed an order to purchase another 165 million (16.5 crore) doses of coronavirus vaccine to strengthen the national inoculation programme against coronavirus.
“These vaccines will come within December or January,” Health Minister Zahid Maleque said.
“As per the directive of the prime minister, we will purchase a total of 75 million doses of vaccine from China as we earlier purchased 15 million doses and placed another order to purchase 60 million more doses a few days back. These 60 million vaccines will come in three months,” the minister said.
He said the government also received another proposal from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to purchase 105 million doses of vaccine.
“We have decided in principle to purchase the vaccine,” he added.
Maleque said Bangladesh is also getting 68 million doses of vaccine under the COVAX facility.
“We have planned to inoculate 15-20 million people each month from September based on the availability of the vaccines,” he said.
He said the government took various measures to ensure treatment for the coronavirus infected patients as it arranged 17,000 beds, 123 central oxygen lines, set up field hospitals, 750 labs to test Covid-19 and recruited around 50,000 manpower including 4,000 doctors and 8,000 nurses, technicians and midwives to face the pandemic.
Maleque said though the number of new cases and deaths has been declining, it may rise again if people do not wear masks and do not follow the health guidelines.
About reopening medical institutions, he said classroom activities will resume physically at all medical educational institutions in phases from September 13.
The academic activities of first, second, and fifth-year students (interns) will start from September 13 and the rest will also resume soon, he added.
“We are going to resume classes of educational institutions in-person. We are taking all necessary measures including vaccinating students and teachers to this end. However, students have to wear masks and maintain other health rules during the class,” he said.
The minister said around 1.5 lakh students are studying at different government and private medical colleges, nursing colleges and institutes, dental colleges, medical assistant training schools (MATS) and institutes of health technology (IHT) in the country.
“Their in-person education remains halted for one and a half years as we kept educational institutions closed for coronavirus situation,” Maleque said.
He also said the government is considering inoculating students below 18 years with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines.