Kurmitola General Hospital nurse Runu Veronica Costa receives first jab
Bangladesh on Wednesday kicked off its vaccination efforts to put an end to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. A total of 26 people were administered the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the capital’s Kurmitola General Hospital.
The vaccine receivers, while speaking to the media 30 minutes after getting immunized, said that the shots did not cause them any immediate adverse effects.
Runu Veronica Costa, a senior staff nurse at Kurmitola General Hospital, became the first person in the country to get a vaccine dose for the deadly virus minutes after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina virtually inaugurated the campaign from Ganabhaban at around 4pm.
After Runu, the vaccine was administered to Dr Ahmed Lutfur Moben of Kurmitola General Hospital at 4:10pm, Prof Dr Nasima Sultana of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) at 4:12pm, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Md Didarul Islam at 4:13pm, and Brig Gen M Imran Hamid of Bangladesh Army at 4:14pm.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque arrived at the venue at around 3:20pm.
The condition of all the initial recipients of the vaccine will be monitored for seven days before the nationwide vaccination campaign begins on February 7, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said.
During the trial run, a further 690 people will be vaccinated at five govent hospitals in Dhaka on Thursday.
After the five government employees, 21 other selected people were given the vaccine shots, including two journalists - Masud Rayhan Polash of NTV and Mohammad Al-Masum Mollah of The Daily Star.
Contacted later in the day, Runu said that she was thrilled to have been selected as the first person to get vaccinated in Bangladesh.
When asked if she felt any immediate side effects, she said: “I am well, but feeling a little cold. This might have happened because of my spending too much time under air-conditioning.”
Runu, while describing her feelings prior to getting the dose, said that she had been actively providing treatment to Covid-19 patients for quite some time and thus she found nothing to be afraid of.
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“Rather, I feel lucky to be the first person in the country to get the vaccine,” she added.
Echoing her, Prof Dr Nasima Sultana, who came to the vaccination facility before the scheduled time, said that she also did not experience any side effects after getting immunized.
“On one hand we are urging general people to take the vaccine and on the other hand, we are showing reluctance to get vaccinated. Isn’t it funny?
“As a result of this, I, without informing my colleagues and family members, decided to take the dose on this first day,” she said, urging all to take the vaccine without any hesitation.
Dhaka Tribune also contacted at least five other vaccine takers and all of them said that they were feeling “normal” after receiving the vaccine jabs.
Meanwhile, “Surokkha” – the application and website made for online registration of Covid-19 vaccine recipients – was declared open to all for entries.
Prof Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, additional director general (ADG) of the Directorate General of Health Services (planning and development), confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune.
People now can download the Surokkha app from the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. They can also go on – https://www.surokkha.gov.bd/ – to complete the online registration for the vaccine.
‘A historic day for Bangladesh’
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, while inaugurating the trial run of the country’s vaccination program, described the day as “a historic day for Bangladesh.”
“Today, it has been proved that we work for the welfare of the people.”
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The premier thanked the Indian government for sending two million vaccine doses as a gift to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has purchased another 30 million doses of the same vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII) and the first consignment of five million shots has already arrived in the country.
Health Minister Maleque said a good number of government high-ups along with office staff members were getting ready to get vaccinated on February 7, which will mark the beginning of the countrywide vaccination drive.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Parliament outlined who would get how many Covid-19 vaccine doses among the priority groups, which include all government health workers and private health workers, frontline law enforcement agencies members, freedom fighters, workers of land, rivers and airports, low immunity people and players of national teams.