Covid vaccination for third gender communities has started in Chattogram, with inoculation of 350 hijras from different areas of the port city on the first day.
Chattogram Divisional Health Director Dr Hasan Shahriar Kabir inaugurated the immunisation program at the Chattogram Civil Surgeon's Office on Monday.
Transgender persons are being vaccinated, enlisting through various organisations. In all, some 1000 third gender persons will be vaccinated here in phases.
Despite getting vaccinated, they will not get vaccination certificates without a National Identity Card. Also, going forward, apart from the aforementioned 1000 transgender persons, any others of the transgender community will require a national identity card for vaccination.
The divisional health office said this whole process will take time.
Speaking at the inaugural function, Dr Hasan Shahriar Kabir said "The third gender community wants to get vaccinated. Today, we have been able to make it a reality and we want people from all walks of life in the country to be vaccinated."
This is a new step in Bangladesh's health sector, he added.
He said, "We want everyone's cooperation to fight against Covid and have requested ward councilors to make a list of third gender people scattered across different wards."
The Divisional Health Director called on transgender persons to complete their double Covid vaccine doses and to adhere to health hygiene guidelines.
Falguni, president of the Nobojagoron Hijra Sromojibi Somobay Samiti, got the first Covid vaccination as a third gender person.
"We have a long-standing demand to have people in our community vaccinated. We sincerely thank the government for this vaccination. We also urge the government to take steps to make it easier for people to get vaccination certificates," Falguni said after getting vaccinated.
Gita, the hijra sardar, said, "As we don't have national identity cards or birth registration certificates, we've been worried for so long regarding vaccines. If we did not get vaccinated, we would have to face many difficulties. Now that worry is over."
Kona Akhter said, "I am very happy to get vaccinated. We feel honored to be vaccinated at such a beautiful event."
Chattogram Civil Surgeon Dr Mohammad Elias Chowdhury presided over the inaugural function where Deputy Civil Surgeon Dr Mohammad Asif Khan was also present.