Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Bangladesh has launched a nationwide campaign to administer some 7.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s birthday.
The drive covers 4,600 unions, 1,054 municipalities and 443 city corporation wards across the country.
The Directorate General of Health Services says 7.5 million people above the age of 25 who have registered to receive the vaccine will get their first dose on Tuesday. Those who are to get the vaccines have already been sent an SMS on their mobile phones.
The Dhaka South City Corporation says that its 75 wards have 75 vaccination centres for the campaign. The DSCC plans to administer some 52,500 doses on Tuesday. The DNCC will administer doses at 54 centres.
Though all vaccination centres were to open at 9 am, officials from the Dhaka North City Corporation reported delays at vaccination centres in educational institutions.
As schools are open and classes are ongoing, the temporary vaccination centres at schools will start operating at 2:30 pm, a Dhaka North City Corporation official told bdnews24.com.
“We can’t give out vaccines while school is in session,” they said, on condition of anonymity. “They will, instead, be administered after school closes. But other vaccination centres are operating on schedule.”
The turnout at the Rajdhani High School vaccination centre in Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar was quite good, with people queuing from as early as 7:30 am and 8 am to get doses. But, as classes were in session, vaccination was suspended until later this afternoon.
“They sent an SMS to my mobile regarding the vaccine,” said Sabrina Akhtar, a housewife. “So, I’ve been here since this morning. They told us vaccines would be given out in the morning, but now they’re saying it will take until later this afternoon. We have work. I took time out of my schedule to get this vaccine.”
Brig Gen Dr Md Sharif Ahmed, chief health officer for the Dhaka South City Corporation, said vaccination centres at educational institutions in Dhaka South had been moved.
“We have moved the vaccination centres at schools to other places so there are no interruptions to the vaccination drive. We started administering vaccines at 9:30 am and will continue to do so throughout the day.”
According to the DGHS, each union has three vaccination booths, while each municipality will have one booth and every city corporation ward three booths.
Each vaccination centre at the union level will administer about 1,500 doses, each municipal centre 500 doses and each city corporation ward centre over 1,000 doses.
According to the Director General of Health Services, Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, the special vaccination campaign was undertaken to commemorate the prime minister’s 74th birthday. The campaign will only administer the first dose of the vaccine. Applicants will receive the second dose on Oct 28.
Bangladesh launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign in February, but had to suspend it for some time due to a supply crisis. But, as new shipments of vaccines came in, the rate of vaccination increased.
A mass vaccination campaign was undertaken for six days starting on Aug 7 and administered the first dose to some 5 million people. Nearly 3 million doses were administered on the first day of the campaign alone. But this is the first time Bangladesh has attempted to administer as many as 7.5 vaccine doses in a day.