None of the vaccines developed so far offers 100% immunity
Vaccine only reduces critical Covid cases, organ damages and mortality
People will have to maintain virus safety ever after getting vaccinated
Bangladesh immunises more 1.81 lakh people Thursday
Infections among the vaccinated would not hamper mass inoculation
Mohammad Mohsin, secretary of the disaster management ministry, got infected with the novel coronavirus 11 days after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. He is now undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Dhaka.
Like Mohsin, SM Golam Kibria, director of films and publication department, tested positive for the virus after being inoculated six days ago.
Meantime, some frontline medial workers also reported they got infected with the coronavirus even after taking the first shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Health experts, however, say getting infected with Covid-19 even after being immunised is not unusual.
According to them, vaccines that have been developed so far slow down the spread of the virus, and reduce death rate and infection-led organ failure, but cannot completely stop people from being infected.
The experts renewed their call for maintaining virus safety measures strictly – even after the inoculation.
Noted virologist Prof Nazrul Islam said people who tested positive even after the vaccination were already infected.
"The virus was in the incubation period when they took the vaccine. Later, the recipients developed Covid symptoms," said Prof Nazrul who is also a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19.
Prof Md Sayedur Rahman, chairman of pharmacology department at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said the chance of virus infection for a vaccine recipient and non-recipient is the same in 21 days since the first shot is administered as the vaccine takes three weeks to produce the antibody.
Prof Sayedur Rahman said, "We might assume that 70 out of every 100 people vaccinated will be protected from Covid-19 since the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has 70% effectiveness.
"The remaining 30% who would not have enough antibodies developed in their body will still be at infection risk. The country is inoculating 2 lakh people per day while it is not unusual for several hundreds of people to get infected with the virus," he added.
Media reports suggest people not only in Bangladesh, but also in other countries are getting infected by the coronavirus even after being inoculated.
In December last year, a San Diego emergency room nurse was given a shot of Pfizer vaccine. He tested positive for the virus a week later, CNN affiliate KGTV reported.
Nearly one million Israelis were vaccinated on 1 January 2021, while some 240 of them later tested positive with the virus.
American physician-scientist and immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci has been cautioning people that no one can dump the face masks and social distancing behaviour just because they have been vaccinated.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also reiterated her call to people to maintain virus safety guidelines even after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.
She said, "No one should think that all the problems are gone after taking the Covid-19 inoculation. You will have to wear a facemask always and follow all the health guidelines to keep yourselves protected."
Then why would I take the shot?
Many argue that if the vaccine does not offer substantial protection, then why one would take the shots.
Prof Sayedur Rahman said no vaccine offers a 100% guarantee. People can hope for strengthened protection only after taking two doses of the vaccine.
"The vaccine will reduce critical Covid cases, organ damages, deaths and slow down the virus spread. For these reasons, everyone eligible will have to be vaccinated," he added.
Prof Sayedur Rahman said people will have to keep protected for at least two more years until a better one arrives.
He said Bangladesh is witnessing a dramatic change in virus case and death rate since it launched the mass inoculation campaign. The government now should introduce the antibody test so that people can check the effectiveness of the vaccine on their own.
"Vaccination drive wouldn't be affected"
Prof Robed Amin, spokesperson of the health directorate, said the ongoing vaccination drive is gaining momentum since people have realised the benefits of the vaccine.
"If some people test Covid positive even after being inoculated, I do not think that would affect the ongoing vaccination campaign," he added.
Prof Robed Amin said the government will launch a serosurveillance to estimate mass antibody levels. "The government has already allowed antibody tests. But it is yet to begin due to kit crunch and some import related issues," he added.
ASM Alamgir, principal scientific officer at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research, also believes infections among the inoculated would not slow down the immunisation drive.
"The people are vaccine-friendly, and they know the benefits of the vaccine. No one said that people will not get infected even if they are vaccinated," he added.
More 1.81 lakh people vaccinated
On Thursday, the 16th day of the nationwide Covid-19 immunisation drive, Bangladesh vaccinated 181439 more people.
So far, 2,850,940 people have received the vaccine since the campaign began on 7 February. As of Thursday noon, 40.37 lakh people have registered to receive the vaccine.