• Sunday, Apr 11, 2021
  • Last Update : 05:59 pm

Vaccine 2nd dose: What is the government’s plan?

  • Published at 10:54 pm April 7th, 2021
A healthcare worker prepares to administer a dose of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine, marketed by the Serum Institute of India (SII) as COVISHIELD, against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Santiago, Dominican Republic February 17, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas

Vaccine campaign to continue during Ramadan    

The health authorities are set to begin administering the second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Thursday while continuing to administer the first doses, even though Bangladesh is yet to receive enough doses for the job to be done.

Bangladesh has so far received 10.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from India, including 7 million doses in official shipments and 3.2 million doses as gifts. 

According to the Directorate General of Health Services, a total of 5,568,703 first doses have been administered in Bangladesh. As a result, altogether 11,137,406 doses are required for those who have already received first doses.

Despite the shortage of nearly a million doses, the government on Sunday decided to continue administering the first doses alongside the second doses. 

DGHS sources said a total of 78,236 people will receive second doses on the first day, including 567 people who received their first doses in the trial run of the nationwide campaign on January 27 and 28. Others who will receive second doses on the day were vaccinated on the first two days of the official campaign on February 7 and 8. 

Mymensingh Divisional Director (Health) Md Shah Alam confirmed that second doses would be administered from Thursday, saying that those who had received first doses on subsequent days would receive their second doses on concurrent days of the second dose campaign.

The vaccination campaign will only be run on official working days.

Vaccine campaign to continue during Ramadan

Dr Abul Kalam Azad, civil surgeon of Munshiganj, said the health authorities there had enough vaccines to administer second doses. Separate desks would be set up for those seeking first doses and second doses, and everyone who visited vaccine centres after receiving their vaccine appointment messages would receive doses.

Several district health officials told Dhaka Tribune they were yet to get the necessary doses as of Wednesday afternoon, but that they were set to arrive in the evening. Beximco Pharmaceuticals, the sole distributor of the Oxford University-AstraZenea vaccine in Bangladesh, is helping with the transportation of the doses.

The DGHS said the nationwide vaccination campaign would continue during the lockdown as well as during Ramadan, as decided at Sunday’s Covid-19 Vaccine Preparedness and Deployment Core Committee meeting.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque, at a virtual program, said his ministry was doing everything possible to continue the ongoing inoculation campaign.

“There is a global shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, which creates a problem for us. Still, the health authorities are trying to bring vaccines to the country. The next consignment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to arrive this month, and we are hoping to receive confirmation on this matter within a day or two,” the minister said.

A source close to the vaccination campaign told Dhaka Tribune that the DGHS had opted to continue administering first doses despite the shortage of stock because it had been assured that more vaccines would be available within the month.

“If the consignment fails to arrive, then we could be in real trouble,” the official said.

According to the calculations of the DGHS, it will be able to administer both first and second doses for at least 28 days with the vaccines in hand. As many as 13,028 people had their first doses on Wednesday.

According to https://covacstats.com/ Bangladesh is to be the 84thth country in the world to administer second doses. Altogether 13 countries in Asia have already started second doses, India being the only one among them in South Asia.

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