More people line up for shots
Staff Correspondent: Officials say that many people have been turned away from COVID vaccination centres on the second day of a mass inoculation drive because the numbers queuing to take the shots greatly exceeded the allocation of daily doses. Vaccines were administered at the city corporation level on Sunday to prevent the further spread of the disease. Officials say that they are also targeting people in areas where doses were not administered on the previous day.
On Saturday, Bangladesh launched a six-day campaign to deliver the first dose of the COVID vaccine to 3.2 million people. The public response to the campaign has been unexpectedly positive and officials now say it may be possible to administer the first dose to over 3.5 million.
The government has also made plans to use helicopters to bring the vaccine to remote areas.
“We are already close to our initial target,” said Dr Shamsul Haque, a member of the national committee for the COVID-19 vaccine. “We have administered the vaccine to 2.9 million people. I believe we will be able to exceed 3.5 million.”
Large crowds could be seen at vaccination centres in Dhaka’s two city corporations. Long lines had already formed by the time centres opened at 9 am.
But, as centres are allocated vaccines for only 350 people a day per ward, many have to be turned away.
Officials from the Dhaka city corporations say that the initiative will continue until Aug 12.
“We have received a huge response to our mass vaccination drive,” said Brig Gen Jobayedur Rahman, chief health officer of Dhaka North City Corporation. “The enthusiasm of the people is apparent.”
“We are giving vaccines to 350 people at each centre per day. But many more are coming.”
“We are also assuring those who are not getting the vaccines now that they will get them eventually. If not today, then tomorrow. If not tomorrow then the day after. We are going for six days. And we will administer more next week.”
Brig Gen Shareef Ahmed, chief health officer of Dhaka South City Corporation, agreed with the assessment.
“People are excited to get vaccinations,” he said. “We have gotten a massive response. Our target is to give out 350 vaccines a day for six days in the 75 wards.”
The first day of the vaccination drive saw over 23,000 get vaccines in the Dhaka South City Corporation area. According to instructions from the Directorate General of Health Services, women over 50 and people with disabilities are given priority for vaccines.
“We are working to ensure that we cover all areas,” said Dr Shamsul Haque. “Yesterday there were large areas that we couldn’t cover. There was also heavy rain in parts of Barishal, Khulna and Cox’s Bazar and we have options for them as well.”
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