Only migrant workers are eligible to receive the vaccine for now
The health authorities in Bangladesh have decided to administer the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at seven centres in the capital from Thursday.
Dr Md Shamsul Haque, member secretary of the vaccine deployment committee of the health directorate, disclosed the information in a virtual bulletin on Wednesday.
The seven centres include Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, Mugda Medical College Hospital, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Sheikh Rasel Gastroliver Institute and Hospital and Kurmitola General Hospital.
“We have designated only seven centres in Dhaka as the vaccine is difficult to transport,” the DGHS official said.
At the moment, only migrant workers who had been unable to go abroad due to not receiving the Pfizer vaccine would get it, Dr Shamsul said, adding that the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training would soon publish a list in this regard.
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“Those who are on the priority list at these centres will have to go to another centre for the Sinopharm vaccine,” the public health expert added.
On May 31, Bangladesh received a shipment of 100,620 doses of the Pfizer vaccine under the international vaccine-sharing platform Covax.
The authorities began administering the vaccine at three hospitals in Dhaka on June 21 as a dry run. Those who received the vaccine were kept under observation for seven days.
The vaccine's preservation temperature ranges between -90°C and -60°C. However, it can remain stable for five days at 2°C to 8°C and for two hours at 30°C, according to the health authorities.
The health directorate had earlier said the Pfizer vaccine would be stored only in Dhaka.
At the time, Dr Shamsul Haque told Bangla Tribune: “The big challenge for this vaccine is its preservation … Transporting it will require thermal shipping containers or freezer vans. Because of this, it will be difficult to supply the vaccine to remote areas of the country.”
Bangladesh has so far administered around 10 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, while a drive to administer over a million shots of China's Sinopharm is also underway.