Bangladesh set for inoculation of 7.5m people against COVID on Hasina’s birthday

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The Directorate General of Health Services has completed all preparations to administer the first dose of coronavirus vaccine to 7.5 million people across the country on the occasion of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s birthday on Tuesday.

The mass inoculation will open at 4,600 unions, 1,054 municipalities and 443 wards under city corporations at 9 am and will continue until the target is achieved, said ABM Khurshid Alam, director-general of DGHS.

Each union will have three booths, each municipality one booth and each city corporation ward three. The authorities sent SMS confirming the vaccination centre and date to 7.5 million of the citizens above 25 years old who have registered for the vaccine.

Men above 40 years old, women and those with disabilities will be prioritised in the first two hours of the drive, which excludes pregnant and breastfeeding women.  

The DGHS director-general said that 5.6 million elderly people have been listed for the vaccine in the drive.

The government will not allow spot registration in order to avoid chaos. “But we’ve asked the workers to register the elderly and give them the vaccine if someone comes without registration.”

The vaccines and other necessary materials were sent to the centres, Khurshid Alam said in a video message posted on the directorate’s Facebook page. The second doses will be administered on the same day next month.

The drive will be held in addition to the country’s regular vaccination schedule, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said on Sunday.

A total of 32,106 health workers have been assigned to the vaccination drive, alongside more than 48,000 volunteers providing support.

Launched in February, Bangladesh’s COVID-19 vaccination operation was halted for some time due to a lack of doses. Now vaccines are arriving from different sources.

In another mass drive in August, Bangladesh administered more than 5 million first doses in six days. 

According to the DGHS, nearly 24.58 million people received the first dose of the COVID vaccine as of Sunday. Some 16.03 million have received the second dose. More than 44 million people have registered online for the vaccine.