Ninety days have passed since they received the first dose of the vaccine, yet one lakh people in Chattogram are yet to get the second dose.
They are worried whether they will get the vaccine at all, or whether the second dose will be effective after 12 weeks.
Like the rest of the country, the first dose of the coronavirus vaccination programme started on 7 February in Chattogram.
A total of 4,53,760 people had received the first dose of the vaccine up until the closure announcement on 26 April. Of them, 3,41,045 got the second dose of the vaccine, leaving 1,12,715 first dose recipients waiting for the second one.
On 19 May, the district civil surgeon announced that those who passed three months after taking the first dose will be administered the second dose under special arrangements. But four days later, on 23 May, vaccination was completely suspended in Chattogram.
Civil Surgeon Sheikh Fazle Rabbi said, "The stock of vaccines in Chattogram is now zero. So, it is not possible for us to vaccinate anyone."
The people of Chattogram have expressed frustration over not getting the second dose of vaccine in three months. People are raising questions as to if the effectiveness of the first dose will be lost if the second dose is delayed, or whether there will still be similar benefits if the second dose is delayed.
Abhijit Chakraborty, one such person concerned about the second dose, told The Business Standard: "My father's second dose of the vaccine was scheduled for 8 April, but he could not take the second dose because he was corona positive then. In the meantime, four months and more have passed since the first dose of the vaccine. I don't know if there will be any problem if the second dose is delayed."
Can a second dose be taken after three months?
If the second dose of the vaccine is delayed, will the effectiveness of the first dose be lost? — The Business Standard wanted to know from the country's eminent microbiologist and virologist, Professor Dr Mustaq Ahmed.
He said, "Even three months after receiving the first dose, vaccine recipients do not have to start it all over again. No matter how late, they should take the second dose. Memory cells are formed in the vaccine recipient's body immediately after the first dose vaccination and a second dose should be confirmed as soon as possible."
National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine (NIPSOM) virologist, Mohammad Jamal Uddin, said, "The first dose of the vaccine is a strong beginning, creating 55% protection. If you can give the second booster dose, the protection is much higher (83 percent). But it is not that the antibodies are lost entirely with time."
Can another company's vaccine be taken as a second dose?
Professor Dr Mustaq Ahmed said, "In a study conducted on 500 people in Spain, the first vaccine was AstraZeneca's, the second was Pfizer's. Vaccine recipients had good immunity in that test. There is no side effect if you are vaccinated by a different company with a gap of eight weeks."
"Uttar Pradesh people in India mistakenly used two types of vaccines in two doses," he said.
"However, there was no problem for vaccine recipients because of this. Three months have passed since many people in our country got the first dose, so the government may decide to use the Chinese or Pfizer vaccine as a second dose on a trial basis. Britain has recommended that another company's vaccine can be used in an emergency," added Dr Mustaq.
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