The National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 has recommended booking Covid-19 vaccines through an advanced payment system as all countries are in a race to collect the vaccine.
To purchase vaccines, communication with multiple sources should continue instead of depending on one, it advised.
The recommendations emerged from the 19th online meeting of the committee held on Thursday.
Professor Dr Mohammad Sahidullah, president of the committee, chaired the meeting, read a press release.
Professor Nazrul Islam, noted virologist and member of the committee, told The Business Standard on Friday there is global demand for Covid-19 vaccines now.
"The government of Bangladesh has also allocated separate funds for vaccines, but we have to prebook supplies through advanced payment," he said.
Also, antigen testing should be done now. This will determine the level of infection in the areas where a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) lab is unavailable, the virologist said.
"And it takes less money and time. It will also increase the rate of testing."
The government has prepared guidelines for celebrating Durga Puja this year.
"We have advised the government to keep Durga Puja celebrations on a limited scale following the guidelines," Nazrul Islam said.
The advisory committee said the vaccination programme must be institutionalised and the vaccine deployment plan needs to be finalised now.
There should be arrangements to check if there are any side effects of the vaccine, it said.
The committee also suggested the inclusion of institutions like the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research to work with the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh in the vaccine trial process.
All three methods of Covid-19 testing – PCR, antigen and antibody – will be key in tackling the situation, it said.
Now is the time to work on serosurveillance. So, antibody testing will have to begin, the committee said.
It also suggested stepping up efforts to raise public awareness to increase the rate of Covid-19 testing.
And the committee proposed displaying the list of sample collection booths in public and making efforts to upgrade the quality of sample collection and testing, too.
Providing safe accommodation to health workers after their duties in hospitals was also on the list of suggestions.
The committee advised a proper list of deceased health workers be prepared and submitted to the concerned ministry, too, to ensure that their families get compensation.
Further, it called for the speedy implementation of the Directorate General of Health Services' campaign on face mask use.