- PM to launch vaccination drive virtually
- Trial immunisation on 27 or 28 January
- 20-25 frontline workers to be jabbed first on a trial basis
- Countrywide vaccination 8 February
- Trial vaccination of 400-500 health workers
- In the first months, 60 lakh people to be immunised
- No list of 1.5 crore priority recipients for vaccine shots yet
Bangladesh plans to start countrywide vaccination from 8 February after a week's trial run.
Twenty lakh doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – gifted by India – will arrive in Bangladesh today and the government will kick off the trial on 27 or 28 January at Kurmitola Hospital by giving the shot to 20-25 frontline workers, Health Secretary Md Abdul Mannan told the media on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will join the inaugural function virtually.
Another 400-500 health workers will be vaccinated at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Kurmitola General Hospital, Mugda General Hospital, and Kuwait-Bangladesh Friendship Hospital the next day, Abdul Mannan said.
In the meantime, the first shipment of 50 lakh doses purchased from the Serum Institute of India will also have arrived on 25 January, he added.
"After observing the vaccinated people for a week, the nationwide vaccine drive is likely to begin on 8 February," Abdul Mannan said.
However, the government has not yet prepared any list of 1.5 crore priority recipients for the jab.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on Tuesday sent a letter to the agencies concerned, asking them to prepare a list of eligible people of different strata to be vaccinated in the first phase by Thursday.
Meanwhile, the country witnessed the lowest deaths from Covid-19 in the last 255 days, with eight new deaths recorded in the last 24 hours till Wednesday 8am. Previously, the lowest number of deaths from the deadly virus in a single day was 8, which was reported on 9 May last year.
Bangladesh purchased 3 crore doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from the Serum Institute of India.
In the first month, 60 lakh vaccine doses, including 10 lakh of the free doses from India, will be given to the priority people, while some 50 lakh doses will be jabbed in the second month. As per the Oxford-AstraZeneca guidelines for its vaccine, the second shot will be administered two months after the first jab.
There will be no vaccination centres outside the government hospitals.
A cell has been set up to regularly circulate information about vaccination through a bulletin.
Md Abdul Mannan said many private hospitals applied to participate in the vaccination programme. Some 20 conditions have been imposed on them and they have not got permission yet.
Director General of the DGHS Prof ABM Khurshid Alam at the media briefing said antibody tests will be conducted on the vaccinated people to see how long the Covid antibodies last. Around 7 crore people, including expatriates, will remain out of the vaccination.
NM Ziaul Alam, senior secretary to the ICT Division, said everything related to the Covid vaccination will be controlled through an application called "Shurokkha".
For now, only the government-selected people and 80 plus elderly citizens will be able to register for the vaccination through the app, he added.
DGHS asks a list of priority people for shots by Thursday
The DGHS has sought a list of 1.5 crore people of different classes eligible for vaccination in the first phase from the agencies concerned by Thursday.
on Tuesday, seeking a list of eligible vaccine recipients, a letter signed by Dr Shamsul Haque, the line director of the DGHS and member secretary of the Covid-19 Vaccine Management Taskforce, was forwarded to the mayors of various city corporations, lawmakers of all Sadar constituencies and chairmen of Zila Parishad, the public administration ministry, the local government division, all divisional commissioners and police commissioners, directors of all medical college hospitals, all secondary and higher education board directors, all deputy commissioners and civil surgeons, superintendents of all district hospitals, all superintendents of police, district education officers and primary education officers and upazila nirbahi officers.
Professor Mizanur Rahman, director at Management Information System of the DGHS, told The Business Standard on Wednesday, "We have a list of 38 lakh health workers to be immunised in the first phase. We sent a letter to different agencies, seeking the list of other front liners in private medical facilities, banks, law enforcement agencies and others."
"We hope to get the list on time," he added.
The letter said, "The government has already taken steps to purchase the Covid-19 vaccine through various means to ensure public health protection against the virus. We all need to be prepared for the smooth transport and distribution of this vaccine. Following this, we have formed a national vaccination plan. In this situation, as per the decision of the national committee, a list of the target population needs to be prepared on an urgent basis."
The letter said at the initial stage, the list has to be prepared based on specific organisations. Later, all the people will be brought under the vaccination programme in phases by procuring vaccine doses, the letter added.