Government plans to administer 8 million vaccine shots on PM Hasina’s birthday
Bangladesh will once again hold a mass vaccination drive on Tuesday with an aim of administering 8 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, in order to reach the goal of dispensing 20 million shots in a month.
A similar but more extended campaign was launched on August 7, which saw high turnouts throughout the country.
The Health Ministry has selected the date for the campaign — September 28 — to mark Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s 75th birthday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque told a virtual press briefing on Sunday.
He said that although all vaccination plans are dependent on how many doses the country has at a certain point, the government aims to hold more special campaigns in the future and increase the inoculation target.
Those who registered for Covid-19 vaccine through the Surokkha app or website will mostly get the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, said the minister.
Replying to a query, Maleque said the target of dispensing 20 million shots a month will be achieved through such special drives as well as the regular inoculation program.
Health workers have been administering around 600,000 vaccine doses a day recently, he informed.
Maleque, in an earlier press conference, had said that the government was planning to inoculate 70-80 million people of the country by March or April of next year.
The government has already ordered or has been assured of enough Covid-19 vaccine doses to reach its target, the minister assured.
In total, Bangladesh will receive 70 million vaccine doses from China, 105 million from the World Health Organization and another 68 million through the Covax facility, he added.
A shipment of 2.5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive in Bangladesh on Monday, Maleque said.
The country currently administers four different vaccines for its inoculation campaign – AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Sinopharm.
Bangladesh has so far received some 55,197,957 doses of Covid-19 vaccine. Around 24.19 million of them have been administered as first doses and some 16.03 million have been given as second doses, according to the latest DGHS data.
“Currently we have around 15 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in hand,” he said, before assuring that there would be no shortage of vaccines.
Reaching the target
The health authorities are going to follow the same framework used during the first mass vaccination campaign, but the number of health workers and volunteers has been increased.
Vaccine centres will operate double shifts if needed to achieve the target of administering eight million shots in a day, according to the minister. The number of centres will increase in the next special drive.
This time around, vaccines will be administered in around 4,600 unions, 1,054 municipalities and 443 wards under city corporations. Every union and each city corporation ward will have three booths, while every municipality ward will have a single booth.
As many as 32,706 health workers will administer the shots, and 48,459 volunteers will help them in the process, the health minister said.
People aged above 40, those who have already registered for vaccines, reside in remote areas, marginalized people and students will get priority.
Those above 25 who have already signed up will also be eligible for vaccination during this drive.
Unregistered people can avail the walk-in vaccination facility but have to bring their national ID card.
Pregnant and lactating women will not be vaccinated during this drive.
People who will receive their first Covid-19 vaccine dose during the drive will get their second dose after a month in a similar campaign, Maleque said.