Inoculation with the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, for those who received the first dose in the second week of August during the countrywide vaccination campaign, started on Tuesday amid enthusiasm.
Women and men lined up at various vaccination centres with vaccination and national identity cards since early Tuesday morning, to get the second dose. Although they suffered standing in long lines for hours, people took the second vaccine dose with enthusiasm.
On a visit, this correspondent saw hundreds of people waiting in lines at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) vaccination centre at 8.30 am on Tuesday. Members of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society were helping them to get their vaccination serials.
After getting the shot, a man named Abdul Hadi told The Business Standard, "The crowd is so dense that it is not possible to maintain social distancing. A more spacious place is needed to conduct vaccination."
Dhaka South City Corporation's (DSCC) website describes the Bhuter Goli community centre as risky, but that has also been made a vaccination centre. Hundreds of men and women were standing in line in front of the community centre at 10am. At least 300 people lined up on both sides of the road in two long lines starting from inside the vaccination centre. Standing huddled, there was no social distancing between one person and another, posing a grave risk of corona infection.
The elderly were supposed to get preference, but watching for an hour at the centre, no elderly person could be seen getting priority.
Md Jahangir, 70, got vaccinated around 10am, after standing in line for four long hours since 6am. "I have been inoculated just now. There was no seating arrangement for elderly persons like us," said Jahangir who was walking with a stick.
In order to inoculate as many people as possible, the government conducted a countrywide vaccination campaign at the union level from 7-12 August, when 5.71 million people got the first dose of vaccine in a week. In that campaign, the Sinopharm vaccine was given in rural areas and the Moderna vaccine in urban areas. On the first day of the campaign, 3 million people across the country got their first dose of the vaccine.
Although a lot of people were vaccinated in a short period of time in last month's campaign, there was a lot of chaos in the vaccination process. Some returned home without being inoculated even after standing in long lines for hours.
However, on Tuesday, there was no uncertainty about getting the second dose of the vaccine, because everyone who got the first dose had a vaccine card. The second dose was provided at the same centre where one got the first dose.
Around 11am yesterday, hundreds of men and women were standing in line to be vaccinated at DSCC's Ward No-16 centre beside the Hatirpul kitchen market. They were standing on the sidewalk in front of grocery stores when it rained at 11:10am and many people got drenched.
Nurul Haque, who came to be vaccinated, said, "There is a school nearby. It would have been better if the vaccination centre had been set up there. Then we would not have had to stand in line for hours after being drenched in the rain."
There was a crowd outside the centre even after 2pm. However, at this time, women were being vaccinated on a priority basis.
In this campaign, the second dose of vaccine was given in 54 wards of DNCC and 65 wards of DSCC on Tuesday.
This second phase of mass vaccination in Dhaka will continue from 7 September to 9 September. Those who received the first dose in the August vaccination campaign will be able to get the second dose from 9am to 5pm on these three days.
In the first phase, on average, 350 people were vaccinated daily in each centre of the capital. In the ongoing second phase, the programme has been reduced to three days with a target of vaccinating 700 people every day.
Brigadier General Mohammad Sharif Ahmed, chief health officer of DSCC, said all those who received the first dose would be given the second dose. If anyone misses today, they will be given their shot tomorrow.