The countrywide vaccination campaign will be carried out only on Saturday for now
The health authorities have primarily decided to administer the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine to 2.9 million people who possess NIDs during the nationwide mass vaccination program on Saturday.
After a series of meetings, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) officials on Thursday decided to run the mass campaign for only one day, on Saturday, instead of a week at union and municipality levels.
The campaign will run in city corporation areas from Saturday to Monday, according to a gazette notification issued on Thursday night.
As per the notification, the recipients of the first dose on Saturday will be given their second dose in September during a similar mass campaign.
As many as 200 people will be vaccinated per booth at unions and municipalities while up to 350 people will receive the vaccine at every booth under the city corporation areas.
Any person aged 25 will be able to walk into a designated vaccination centre and get the jab by showing the national identity card. The registration process can be completed also at the centers through the Surokkha platform.
People, who have already registered through the Surokkha platform but yet to receive a date for the first dose, will be able to receive their vaccine on Saturday.
The notice also mentioned that other immunization processes will continue during the mass vaccination drive. The vaccination drive will be conducted also on Sunday or Monday where other Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) campaigns are scheduled to be conducted.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque is set to give details of the new plan at a press conference on Friday morning.
On Thursday morning, DGHS Director General Prof ABM Khurshid Alam said: “The walk-in vaccination program will be held on the inauguration day only as there is a shortage of vaccines and manpower in the city corporation areas. We will hold meetings to arrive at a solution [to the problems].”
According to a source who attended the meetings, the walk-in vaccination program is a new experience for the government. The health authorities have experience of inoculation in large numbers under the EPI, which is different in nature.
Bangladesh has experience of administering one million vaccines per day under the EPI.
The health authorities want to have a clear idea on their inoculation capacity on the first day of the walk-in Covid vaccination program.
The mass vaccination program will resume on a later date depending on two factors — availability of vaccines and people’s response.
Earlier, Health Minister Zahid Maleque on several occasions had announced that the health authorities would provide the first dose of the vaccine to 10 million people in the first week of the campaign, which had been scheduled to begin on Saturday.
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The grassroots-level health care providers were also informed of the program with detailed plans. The program was expanded to the city corporation level as well.
The government urged people to go to the walk-in vaccine facilities with NID cards to be inoculated.
However, for the last three days despite a series of meetings, the authorities could not come up with a final decision.
The country launched its nationwide vaccination program on February 7. More than 14 million doses of four types of vaccines have been administered to date, including the first and second doses.