Staff Correspondent: Bangladesh will give COVID-19 vaccine shots to everyone aged 12 or older and booster shots of the vaccine to anyone 40 years and up, says Health Minister Zahid Maleque.
The health minister also spoke of the government’s efforts to bring the floating population of the country into the vaccination programme.
People over the age of 12 will be able to register through the regular system, the minister said at a press conference at the Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons in Dhaka’s Mohakhali yesterday.
If they are unable to register themselves, they can proceed to a vaccination centre with their birth certificates as well, he said.
“We are currently giving vaccines to students aged 12 and above,” he said. “This will be open to all, including those who cannot attend schools, madrasas, etc. We will give the vaccine to anyone over
the age of 12, wherever they are.”
Third vaccine doses, also known as booster doses, will also be given to people over the age of 40 from yesterday, he said.
Bangladesh launched its COVID vaccination programme in February 2021. On Nov 1, it began administering doses of the vaccine to school students in Dhaka between the ages of 12 and 17. This was later expanded nationwide on Jan 1.
On Dec 28, the Directorate General of Health Services launched its booster dose programme.
People over the age of 60, those working on the frontlines of the pandemic and those with serious health risks were the first to get the booster vaccine. The general age limit was lowered to 50 on Jan 17.
“We launched the booster dose programme by giving the shots to citizens over the age of 60,” the health minister said. “The age limit was later lowered to 50, but not too many people were able to make use of the booster programme. As such, we are lowering the age limit even further. We have enough in stock to give out these booster doses.”
On Jan 20, Bangladesh received 336,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. This will be the one given out to the floating population, the health minister said.
“Oftentimes floating people do not have a fixed address. We are arranging for them to get this vaccine because it only involves a single dose. They will not have to return for another shot.”
Fewer people are getting the COVID-19 vaccine now, he said.
The DGHS has sent a letter to all traders’ associations urging their members to get vaccinated if they have not yet done so.
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