Second phase of vaccination drive begins
Bangladesh has started administering the second dose of coronavirus vaccine on Thursday while continuing to give the first shot to citizens who have registered.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), some 81,323 people got the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday, the first day of the second phase.
The DGHS has decided to provide the second dose from April 8 as the nationwide inoculation was started on February 7.
Though initially it was decided that the second dose would be provided four weeks after inoculating with the first dose, later the gap was changed to eight weeks.
As officials decided to inoculate the recipients of January 27 and 28, February 7 and 8 on the same day, 78,236 people were to receive the second dose on Thursday, including 567 people who received their first dose in the trial run of the nationwide campaign on January 27 and 28.
Meanwhile, the administering of the first dose also continued on Thursday and some 14,804 people got the first dose. Till now some 5,583,507 people have got the first dose while some 6,992,790 people have registered for the vaccine till now.
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak, who got the first dose on the first day, also received his second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital (BSMMU) on Thursday.
Later, Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi and State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury got their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at BSMMU.
Several physicians and healthcare professionals also got vaccinated on Thursday.
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DGHS Director Md Aminul Islam Miah said recent research suggests that the South African variant of the virus is replacing the local variant, and it is said that Covishield has not proved to be effective against the variant.
“However, taking the vaccine would reduce the severity of the effects of Covid-19. Besides, it is effective against other variants, as per our knowledge. So, I urge all to take the vaccine for their own safety as well as for other members of society,” he added.
He also urged all to follow health rules.
"We should not depend only on vaccines to be free of coronavirus. Everyone should be more aware and abide by the health directives issued by the government,” State Minister Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said after receiving the jab.
State Minister for ICT Palak said the government would provide vaccine passports to those who had taken both doses of the vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Coordinator of BSMMU vaccination centre, Dr Khurshid Alam, said those who got infected after taking the vaccine would be eligible for the second jab from the day they test negative.
He also added that many who did not get the message for the second dose but came to the centre with their vaccination cards were given the second jab.
The government is supposed to get 5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine every month under a deal between India's Serum Institute and the Bangladeshi pharma Beximco.
The country has so far received two shipments of 7 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Apart from this, Bangladesh received two consignments of 3.2 million doses of the vaccine as a gift from India.
The health minister on Wednesday at a virtual discussion said the next consignment of the vaccine would be received within this month.