Bangladesh set to procure around 140 million vaccine doses by next June, says DGHS chief Prof ABM Khurshid Alam
Bangladesh's health authorities on Sunday said they have set a target to vaccinate 80% of the country's 170 million population by next year as part of the government’s campaign to check Covid-19.
"We are planning to vaccinate 80% of the country's total population by 2022," Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof ABM Khurshid Alam said.
Talking to BSS, he said Bangladesh was already set to purchase roughly 140 million vaccine doses by June next year while the rest of the required jabs were expected to be procured in the subsequent months to implement the plan.
The DGHS chief said the procurement process was already underway by reaching deals with different countries and companies.
He said agreements were finalized to get 30 million vaccines from China's Sinopharm, 10 million Sputnik V of Russia, 70 million Johnson & Johnson and 6.5 million Pfizer of the US and three million AstraZeneca doses.
According to DGHS data, Bangladesh has so far collected around 16.1 million Covid-19 vaccines, and as of July 25, nearly 7.35 million people have received their first shots and over 4.3 million have been administered the second dose.
Around 11.8 million people have signed up to get the vaccine to date.
Dr Khurshid said a full-scale vaccination campaign would be launched in rural areas as well after receiving the vaccines, adding: “We are hopeful of getting these vaccines soon.”
"We will vaccinate people in the remotest villages," the DGHS chief said, adding that alternative ways were being explored for recipients’ registration to expedite the inoculation drive and vaccinate 130 million of the 170 million population by 2022.
The DGHS chief's comments came a day after authorities lowered the vaccine recipients’ age limit to 18 years from 30 against the backdrop of the brutal onslaught of deadly Delta variant of coronavirus.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Saturday announced the decision and directed the ICT division to revise the national Surokkha app to incorporate the younger population.
People aged 55 and above were initially declared eligible to get the vaccine as the inoculation campaign was launched on February 7 this year while the age line was revised thrice thereafter.
On February 7, the countrywide Covid-19 vaccination campaign began with spontaneous participation of people from all walks of life, for receiving vaccines from 1,055 designated hospitals.
"Every month 10 million people in the country will have to be vaccinated, meaning 400,000 people every day, to get the full benefit of vaccines," National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 President Prof Mohammad Shahidullah said.
He said the vaccination campaign would not yield the excepted result unless the registration process was eased to quicken the drive as vaccines of different companies have specific efficacy period.
Shahidullah said that so far, India has vaccinated 430 million people as it was carrying out a quicker inoculation campaign despite the pandemic's worst onslaught.
"Quick vaccination coverage will reduce both infection and fatality rates," he said.