Bangladesh will start oral cholera vaccination from the first week of May, Health Minister Zahid Maleque says on Friday.
"In the first phase, people from five diarrhea-prone areas in Dhaka will be vaccinated against the bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water," he said, inspecting a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) admission test centre at Government Titumir College in the city.
Responding to a question, the minister said the country is also gearing up for yearly inoculation of people against Covid-19.
He urged all people to get vaccinated against cholera. "Following the initial vaccination drive, extensive vaccination against the disease will begin across the country.
"It is not confirmed yet if people need to be vaccinated every year against Covid-19, but we are preparing for that and measures have been taken to produce the vaccine in the country," said Minister Zahid Maleque.
The minister said they would need 13 crore jabs to vaccinate 13 crore people against Covid every year. "But the World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet called for that," he added.
"We have achieved success in Covid vaccination and now, all vaccines will be produced in the country," he said.
Asked about the recent report of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on an alleged discrepancy of around Tk23,000 crore in the purchase and management of Covid vaccines, Maleque said, "I do not know anything about that yet. A press conference will be held soon after looking into the matter."
Talking about dental schooling, the Minister said 65,905 students in 28 centres across the country are appearing for the BDS admission test this year, where the total number of available seats is 1,950 this year. Of these, 545 are in government colleges. An average of 33 students are vying for each seat, he added.