No more ‘mass’ vaccination
Staff Correspondent: The government ceases the “mass” vaccination for COVID-19 as the supply of doses dwindles, but will continue registration as new shipments arrive.
“We can’t use the word ‘mass’ to describe the vaccination programme anymore,” Health Minister Zahid Maleque told reporters yesterday. “We’ll call a specific number of people so that we can provide the vaccine. Only those receiving the message should come.”
“There was a long queue during the mass vaccination, though it wasn’t our intention. American or Chinese, all vaccines have good efficacy, and therefore, no one needs to rush for it,” he said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the health authorities to consider if the time gap between two doses could be narrowed, as many countries started giving the second dose within 15 days of the first, according to the minister. “Most recipients were from the urban areas as rural people were initially reluctant to take it. We have sent vaccines to the rural areas,” Maleque said.
Bangladesh has so far administered 22.2 million doses, with 6.1 million people fully vaccinated, according to data from the World Bank-backed COVID-19 vaccine tracker. The gap between secured or expected doses and the doses needed to vaccinate 40 percent of the population by the end of 2021 is 95.5 million.
“We received the AstraZeneca vaccine doses the day before yesterday. We’ll get 6 million Pfizer vaccines by September. Sinopharm has confirmed the shipment of 1 million doses by the end of this month,” the minister said.
“We have worked a lot and placed new orders over the past 15 days. In total, we placed an order to buy 75 million vaccine doses from China. The World Health Organisation offered us to buy some vaccines and we told them that we’ll do so.”
Maleque hoped that more than 80 million people will be able to get the vaccine doses by February.
“The orders that we placed and the commitment we received ensure that there won’t be a scarcity of vaccines. If we receive 160 million doses, we can vaccinate 80 million people. These vaccine doses are likely to arrive by December.”
“There’ll be some free vaccine from COVAX and that will add more to that 160 million doses.”
The Cabinet has discussed a plan to vaccinate all workers, said Maleque. “We’re vaccinating the frontline workers first. We want each and every person to receive the vaccine and stay safe. Most of those vaccinated have survived the disease.”
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