Bangladesh is set to kick off a nationwide immunisation drive against the coronavirus in 1,015 centres on Feb 7 after revising its vaccination plan to administer 3.5 million doses in the first month instead of 6 million.
The programme is scheduled to start at 9 am on Sunday with as many as 2,402 teams of health workers ready to engage in the vaccination work. Each team will comprise four members, including two health workers and two volunteers.
Bangladesh is using the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which has been manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
Vaccines will be administered across 56 centres in Dhaka, Dr Nazmul Islam, line director of the disease control branch of the health directorate, told bdnews24.com. A total of 206 teams will be working in the capital.
Elsewhere, 959 centres, comprising various hospitals and Upazila health complexes, will distribute the doses through 2,196 teams.
Health workers from each group can vaccinate a maximum of 150 people, Nazmul said. So, it will be possible to vaccinate 3,29,400 people on the first day.
“The numbers may vary. The workload will be dictated by the situation. It is not mandatory for everyone to work on the first day. If the turnout is low, fewer teams will join the efforts.”
Several centres have also been earmarked for vaccinating important people, including ministers, MPs and lawyers, according to him.
REGISTRATION FACILITY AT THE CENTRES
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said participants will be able to register for the vaccines at the centres.
“They will be registered and vaccinated. If there is a delay in registration, the vaccines will be given first and the data will be recorded later. We will not send anyone back.”
A participant has to bring his National Identity Card for registration.
Many people do not have smartphones and may not be able to register, Zahid said. For this reason, chairmen, mayors and MPs will bring the people to the centres and get them registered and vaccinated.
Zahid urged all to get vaccinated saying that preparations for the inoculation drive are almost complete.
“We are rolling out the vaccines on Feb 7. All those who have been vaccinated so far are healthy.”
The government plans to vaccinate 80 percent of the country’s population. Each person will be given two doses of the vaccine.
According to the national COVID vaccine distribution and preparation plan, the government will inoculate 80 percent of the country’s population, or around 138.24 million people.
The doses will be administered in five stages under three phases. Priorities will be given to health workers and others on the frontline of the fight against the virus.
The government has purchased 30 million doses of the vaccine from the Serum Institute of India.
It has already received a total of seven million doses of the vaccine, including two million free doses from the Indian government.
Besides, the country is expected to receive 12.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the first half of 2021 under COVAX.