Covid vaccination kicks off today: PM to inaugurate the piloting

Staff Correspondent:
Bangladesh joins the world today in the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 pandemic with a robust stock of vaccine doses in hand. Of the south Asian countries, Bangladesh has the highest number of vaccines in hands — 70 lakh doses — after India.

Covid-19 has already claimed more than 8,000 lives in the country and over 2.14 million in the world.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the pilot vaccination virtually from Kurmitola General Hospital at 3:30pm. She is also expected to launch the registration app called “Surokkha” for mass inoculation, scheduled to start on February 7.

The government has targeted vaccinating 60 lakh people in the first month and another 50 lakh the following month. The pilot will start with the vaccination of a nurse of Kurmitola hospital.

According to government officials, 20-30 people will get vaccinated on the opening day. The first recipients will include nurses, doctors, freedom fighters, media personnel and other frontline workers from different professional groups.

The pilot vaccination will take place in five public hospitals of Dhaka. The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has already completed all the procedures to that end.

“From today vaccination [pilot] will start in Dhaka and then it will be expanded across the country. By that time, all preparations for smooth vaccination will be completed,” Prof Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, director general of DGHS, told The Daily Star yesterday.

He also said they have prepared a list of 20 to 30 people to inoculate on the opening day.

“Each vial has 10 doses. So, once we open a vial, we have to administer all 10 doses. Accordingly, the number of recipients should be either 20 or 30,” Khurshid Alam said. He also said, except India, none of the South Asian countries has more vaccines than Bangladesh right now.

Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) has given the usage permission of 50 lakh purchased vaccines, which arrived in Dhaka on Monday, after examining the samples from each batch.

Major General Md Mahbubur Rahman, director general of the DGDA, told journalists that the piloting of the vaccine will start with the government purchased vaccines.

Bangladesh purchased 3 crore doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from Serum Institute of India (SII). The first consignment of 50 lakh arrived on January 25. Bangladesh also received 20 lakh doses of the Oxford vaccine produced in SII as gift from the Indian government on January 21. Source: The Daily Star