Candidates eligible for vaccination can start registering online via the vaccine app from January 26
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) will begin nationwide emergency Covid-19 vaccination from the first week of February after receiving the first lot of the vaccines between January 21 to 25.
Candidates eligible for vaccination can start registering online via the vaccine app from January 26. The mobile application that is near completion is scheduled to get permission from the ministry concerned on the same day.
DGHS Director General (DG) Prof Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam said: “Beximco Pharmaceuticals has informed us that the vaccines will arrive in Bangladesh between January 21 to 25. We will start the vaccination program a week from that. That means the vaccination process will begin across the country in the first week of February.”
He was addressing a press conference on Covid-19 vaccine implementation plan at the DGHS headquarters in Mohakhali.
It would be stored in Beximco’s warehouse, he added. Beximco will bring the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from the Serum Institute of India and deliver the first 30 million doses to the government.
“If they [Beximco] manage to bring more, they will supply it to private facilities,” the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) let it be known last week.
Line director of MNC&AH unit of DGHS, Shamsul Haque, in his presentation over the plan, said after the vaccines were received by January 25, they would be distributed to the health authorities at the district-level within January 27.
“In one week we will provide some vaccines to the health workers in some tertiary level treatment facilities,” he said.
“Within that time we hope to complete our necessary preparations, such as training the volunteers and vaccinators and will start the nationwide vaccination from the first week of February,” he said, adding that the candidates would need to sign or give consent by using a thumbprint before vaccination.
Prof Khurshid Alam earlier said that the registration for vaccination would start on January 26.
The DGHS DG said that the authorities were primarily providing doses to 2.5 million people in the first months but as new instructions from Oxford-AstraZeneca bring new results, five million people will be inoculated against Covid-19 in the first phase.
The second dose of the vaccine would be administered two months after the first shot, as per new instructions, he added.
Sharing similar sentiments, DGHS Additional DG Meerjady Sabrina Flora said as there was scientific proof that the vaccine worked better if it was administered after 8 to 13 weeks, the DGHS was taking the opportunity and trying to vaccinate more people in the first few months.
Covax and other possible sources of vaccine were also being considered for the vaccination program, she added.
Flora said mobile medical teams would be deployed near vaccination centres to tackle any situation that emerges following an adverse impact on any vaccine recipient.
The DGHS said the training period at different levels of vaccinators, their manager, and volunteers was supposed to be completed between January 13 and January 27.
Preservation and transportation of vaccines
According to the DGHS, the vaccine will be stored at district and upazila EPI’s WIC and ILR storage. The WIC (10-60 cubic metre) can store 1,00,000-425,000 vials of vaccine while ILR can store up to 7,100 vials.
One cold box can accommodate 900 vials of vaccine while a vaccine carrier has 80 vials of vaccine. Vaccines will be preserved between 2-8°C temperature.
“One vial means ten doses of vaccines and we have done district-level planning so that they could send the required volume of vaccine at the right time,” Line director of MNC&AH unit of DGHS Dr Shamsul said.
Some 7,344 teams will vaccinate people nationwide and each team would be formed to vaccinate 100-150 people in a day.
How will one get the vaccine?
According to the DGHS, the vaccination process will start with online registration once the vaccination of particular professionals of a certain sector starts.
According to the DGHS, it will take 4 to 5 minutes to register depending on technological fluency.
After successful registration, the person will get a vaccination card where his vaccination centre and time will be notified.
He will receive another text message before the first date of the jab.
After the first dose, he will be given the date and time of the second jab by the vaccinators. After completing the second dose, the person will get a certificate as a proof that he or she was vaccinated.
Would the plan create hurdles for expatriates?
According to the line director of the DGHS, they would provide vaccines to some 120,000 expatriates.
Dr Shamsul said they were keeping the provision considering the probable demands of migrant destination countries.
Expatriates will have to show their passport and necessary documents to get the vaccine. And the candidates would only avail the certificate if they completed the doses, and they would have to stay in their home country for two months (between the two jabs) to complete the process, he added.