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Booster dose registration for migrant workers may open next week

  • Rajib Kanti Roy
  • 15 November, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The government is likely to open the registration process in a week to allow Bangladeshi migrant workers to get COVID booster shots.

 “At the moment, the Saudi Arabia-bound workers desperately need booster shots to enter the country for work,” Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) Director-General Shahidul Alam told the Daily Sun while sharing the plan for arranging booster shots for the migrant workers.

“The process is underway to add booster dose or third dose in the Surokkha app and website. The migrant workers will be able to register if this option is launched in a week,” he said.

Earlier the BMET Director-General said a decision on booster dose for the Saudi-bound workers will be made after November 20.

He said he discussed the matter with the Surokkha authorities on November 4 and they took two more weeks to complete the task.

Saudi Arabia approved vaccines of Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson.

The Gulf State is allowing travellers vaccinated with Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines only after receiving a booster dose of any vaccine approved in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia made the five-day institutional quarantine mandatory on-arrival for foreign travellers from May 20 this year.      As instructed, the passengers who have not received the vaccine (approved by the Kingdom) against coronavirus and passed at least two weeks since the second shot will need to stay at the hotel quarantine at their own cost.

Therefore, the Saudi bound Bangladeshi workers are spending Tk 40,000 to 60,000 for staying in hotel quarantine.

Many Bangladeshis have inadvertently taken Chinese Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines. To enter Saudi Arabia, they must take an extra or booster dose of any one of the four jabs approved by the country.

At least 30,000 workers are now going to Saudi Arabia every month from Bangladesh.

Saudi-bound migrant workers who have taken Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines are now in a state of uncertainty as the booster dose of the coronavirus has not been introduced in Bangladesh yet.

Many are still travelling to Saudi Arabia despite the burden of mandatory hotel quarantine in fear of losing their jobs.

On October 7, the National Technical Advisory Committee decided to provide a booster dose. On the same day, Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed informed that a decision had been taken regarding booster dose but it would take some time for including this in the certificate.