- On Thursday, 5 hospitals in Dhaka will vaccinate 690 health workers
- They will be observed for 7 days
- 60 lakh people will get vaccine doses every month at 7,344 centres
- Bangladesh now has 70 lakh doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by India's Serum Institute
Bangladesh will embark on the mission to vaccinate its population against Covid-19 today by giving the first shot to a nurse at Kurmitola General Hospital in the capital.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the vaccination program at 3:30pm. However, the nationwide inoculation will start on 7 February, said Health Minister Zahid Maleque following a dry-run of Covid vaccine at the hospital yesterday.
Twenty-five people will get vaccine shots today, he said.
On Thursday, 5 hospitals in Dhaka, including the Kurmitola hospital, will vaccinate 690 health workers. The others are Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Mugda Medical College and Hospital, Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital.
The authorities will take time until 7 February to observe the side effects of the jab, if any, and to distribute doses of the vaccine across the country before the countrywide inoculation programme begins.
From then on, as many as 60 lakh people will get vaccine doses every month at 7,344 centres.
"The vaccine is not a tool of politics for us. The doses have been brought to save lives. Those who are running campaigns against the vaccine are not well-wishers of the country," the minister told reporters.
He called on people not to be misguided on the vaccine.
"Bangladesh will be successful in the inoculation programme just as it has been in dealing with Covid-19," Zahid Maleque said.
He also said the online registration process to get vaccine doses would begin after the PM's inaugural programme. People will also be able to register their names for the jabs at healthcare centres.
Watching preparations for the vaccination programme at Dhaka Medical College, the health minister said there were separate waiting rooms for men and women to be getting the shots.
After receiving a shot, people will wait in the observation area so that healthcare providers could check on them for any immediate reaction.
"No one would leave the premises immediately. When you feel good, you can leave," the minister said.
The immunisation programme will continue for a long time, but it will not hamper the regular healthcare services, he added.
The country now has 70 lakh doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by India's Serum Institute, including 20 lakh that it received as gifts from the neighbouring country.
The Directorate General of Drug Administration approved the vaccine lots after thoroughly examining samples, clearing the inoculation process, said DGDA Director General Maj Gen M Mahbubur Rahman at a press conference.
Only 32% Bangladeshis want to take vaccine now: DU study
Only 32% Bangladeshi adults want to be immunised against Covid-19 immediately, with the rest being sceptical about the vaccine's effectiveness, according to a study by Dhaka University's Institute of Health Economics.
Overall, 84% people showed interest in taking the jab at some stages – after a few weeks, months or years – but not right now as they worry over its efficacy and side-effects.
Some 3,560 randomly-selected people above 18 years responded to the study that began on January 10. The respondents were from 16 upazilas of eight districts in eight divisions and from Dhaka city area.
The study findings were disclosed in a virtual event yesterday.
Lead research Prof Syed Abdul Hamid said 22% of the respondents would like to take the vaccine after a few weeks, 27% after a few months and 3% after one year, while 16% did not want to be vaccinated at all.
Rural people – 87% – are more willing to take the vaccine than city dwellers (80%).
Buddhists (66%) are less likely to take the shots than Muslims (82%), Hindus (97%), Christians (100%), and Atheists (100%), according to the study.
Women (87%) are more interested in getting immunised than men (82%).
Hamid said the government should raise awareness about the vaccine and the possible side-effects to beat the misconception and rumour.