How to register for coronavirus vaccine in Bangladesh

The preparations are at the final stages to launch a mobile phone app through which people can register for the mass vaccination campaign against the coronavirus.

The government is also making lists of the health workers and others on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19.

Details of the app and the registration process will be made known at a press conference on Monday afternoon, said ICT Secretary NM Ziaul Alam.

The first batch of the 30 million doses of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is expected to arrive in Bangladesh on Monday.

Its manufacturer Serum Institute of India will send five million doses a month through Beximco Pharmaceuticals under the deal. The government has purchased the doses from Serum. The Indian government has also sent two million doses as a gift.

The mass inoculation drive will begin in full swing on Feb 8 while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will kick off the campaign on Jan 27 with a nurse getting the first shot.

As many as 24 others will also get vaccinnated at the Kurmitola General Hospital in Dhaka on that day, followed by a dry run on Jan 28 on 400 to 500 people at five hospitals in the capital.

Those receiving the jabs will be under observation for a week as per the World Health Organization guidelines. The monitoring is required because the trials of the vaccine were not held in Bangladesh.

To register for the vaccine, all must download the Surokkha app on their mobile phone from Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store.

The Directorate General of Health Services or DGHS sought the lists of the frontline workers from the government and private agencies in letters to the deputy commissioners of the 64 districts on Jan 13, said Nasima Sultana, additional directorate general at the DGHS.

They will get registered once the app is launched, she said.

ONLINE REGISTRATION

Citizens can also register online on the Surokkha web application www.surokkha.gov.bd, said Secretary Ziaul.

Those under 18 cannot be registered on the app as they are still not permitted to take the vaccine. No coronavirus vaccine has been trialled on people aged below 18.

The authorities have made 18 types for the registration. Upon selecting a type, the citizens will need to input NID number, date of birth and mobile phone number.

The types include citizen registration, officers and employees of the government’s Health and Family Planning Department, approved private health and family planning officers and employees, all directly involved government and private health care officers and employees, heroic freedom fighters and heroines, frontline law enforcement agency, military and paramilitary defence forces, essential officers in governance of the state and frontline media workers.

The other types are elected representatives, frontline officers and employees of the city corporations and municipalities, religious representatives of all religions, engaged in burial, government officers and employees at the forefront of emergency electricity, water, gas, sewerage and fire services, government officials of railway stations, airports and seaports, government officials involved in emergency public service in districts and Upazilas, ban officers and employees, and unskilled migrant workers.

Citizens will be informed about the vaccination after verification of the information provided by them during the registration. They will receive SMS containing the date and vaccination centre.

Ziaul said the government is planning registration at union digital centres for those having no access to internet or device to use the app.

THE LISTS

Officials at the field level said the work is ongoing to make the lists of the frontline workers following the DGHS letter.

Rezaul Karim, deputy commissioner of Kurigram, said the office of the civil surgeon in the district was coordinating the lists from the Upazilas.

The vaccines will be given at temporary booths set up by the civil surgeon following the lists, he said.

Md Anwar Hossain Akand, deputy commissioner of Laxmipur, also said they were finalising the list.

Bangladesh Bank in a notice on Jan 21 asked all the banks to email lists of officials and employees with their details.

The National Press Club, Dhaka Reporters Unity and other organisations of journalists are also making the lists after getting the DGHS letter.

Rubana Huq, who heads Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, has asked that the authorities include the workers of the highest export-earning industry in the lists.

She said the BGMEA members were trying to secure vaccine doses on their own, but it would be “great” if the government vaccinated the workers.

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. In the first stage of the initial phase, 3 percent of the population will be vaccinated, while 7 percent will go through immunisation in the second stage. Then in the second phase, 11.2 percent will be inoculated.

In the first stage of the third phase, 21.4 percent will be jabbed with two doses before another 41.8 percent of the population is immunised in the last stage.

Based on the primary plan, the health directorate has created a list of distribution reflecting the availability of the vaccines over the months.

Initially, Bangladesh was supposed to administer five million doses in the first month of immunisation, the shipment of two million free doses of the vaccine from India altered the plan.

It will now roll out six million doses in the first month and five million doses in the second.

In the third month, six million people will get their second doses of the vaccine, Alam said.

As many as 452,027 doctors, nurses and other health workers at government facilities will get the vaccine first.

Around 600,000 health workers of the private facilities will also get the vaccine in the first phase.

The priority list also includes 210,000 freedom fighters, 180,457 members of the military and civil defence forces, 25,000 government employees essential in running the state, 25,000 journalists, 89,149 public representatives, 75,000 officials and other employees of city corporations and municipalities, and 37,500 funeral workers will get the vaccine doses in the first month.

The others who will get the vaccine in the first month include 200,000 workers of the utilities, sewerage services, fire service and airports, 75,000 of the ports, 60,000 unskilled expatriate workers, 200,000 government staffers engaged in emergency work at districts and Upazilas, and 10,932 from the national sports teams.

The government will keep aside 70,000 doses as buffer stock for emergency or to tackle sudden outbreak.