The number of Covid-19 vaccine recipients more than doubled Tuesday, the third day of the mass inoculation campaign in Bangladesh.
The health directorate said 101,082 people across the country got their first shots of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine against the country's single-day capacity to jab 1.5 lakh people. Turnout for vaccination was 46,509 on Monday and only 31,160 the day before.
Of the vaccine receipts on Tuesday, 74,586 were male and 26,496 were female. The health directorate said only 94 people showed immediate side effects after vaccination.
Health experts attributed the high turnout to the abating fear and hesitation over immunisation since a number of ministers, eminent personalities and top public officials had already taken the shots and did not develop any major side effects.
At the eight booths of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Convention Centre on Minto Road, 1,496 people were vaccinated Tuesday, while the same centre had 898 vaccine receipts on the previous day.
Other vaccination centres in the capital also witnessed higher turnout than the previous days.
Dhaka Medical College Hospital Monday immunised only 500 people while Tuesday's vaccine turnout exceeded it just by noon.
A retired government official, who received the Covid shot at Mohammadpur Fertility Centre Tuesday, said he had fear about getting vaccinated earlier.
"But now, it has gone. The government is providing the shots free which cost around Tk1,000 per dose. Then why would we not cooperate?" the official said.
Bangladesh rolled out the vaccination campaign on 7 February, and is carrying out the immunisation at 1,005 centres across the country. Except for the weekends, 2,400 teams are inoculating citizens from 8am to 2:30pm every day. The first phase of the immunisation will continue until 7 March.
In the first month of the campaign, the country plans to administer the first dose to 35 lakh people.
Public health experts said there is nothing to fear about the vaccine, and citizens who meet the eligibility criteria should receive the shots.
Noted virologist and former vice-chancellor of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Prof Nazrul Islam said he took the vaccine and he was fine.
"There is no reason to fear or doubt the vaccine. What you need is a bit of courage to take the shots," Prof Nazrul told The Business Standard.
He said getting vaccinated means not only protecting oneself, but also being a big leap to help the country ride out of the pandemic.
"Bangladesh has enough doses, and more will come. Now the registration process needs to be made easier and more people need to be vaccinated faster," he added.
Citizens aged at least 40 and frontline workers of 19 professions are now able to sign up for the vaccination through www.surokkha.gov.bd web portal. As of Tuesday afternoon, 690,063 people have registered for the vaccination campaign.
Bangladesh to get 1.31 lakh Covax doses by Feb
Health Secretary Abdul Mannan said Bangladesh will receive 1.31 lakh vaccine doses under the Covax programme by the end of February.
In the first half of this year, the country will get a total of 1,27,92,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine under the programme co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Gavi vaccine alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
Vaccination takes a festive look
Health Secretary Abdul Mannan said there was vaccination fear among some people at the beginning of the mass campaign, but now it has gone.
"The vaccination has taken a festive look," he told reporters after visiting Dhaka Medical College Hospital vaccination centre on Tuesday afternoon.
Abdul Mannan said he asked many vaccine receipts about how they felt. "All of them replied that they did not feel any discomfort after vaccination," He added.
The health secretary hoped more people will turn up at the vaccination centres in the coming days and the overall situation will be more uplifting.
State minister urges primary teachers to get vaccinated
State minister for Primary and Mass Education Md Zakir Hossen Tuesday urged the primary teachers to get vaccinated.
The state minister said the panic over vaccination has subsided. "The vaccine has no side effects, and I am completely fine," he said.
"Keep yourself and others protected from virus infections," he added.