The government is going to make some changes to the plan of Covid-19 vaccination starting from 7 February all across the country.
According to the new plan, 35 lakh people are expected to be vaccinated in the first month instead of 60 lakh estimated earlier.
Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of the Directorate General of Health Services, has said these while talking to the media on Thursday.
He maintained that the global vaccine supply situation has also been taken into account in making changes to the plan.
"Primarily, we will give away half of the 70 lakh vaccines that we have in our hand and set aside the other half to roll them out after a month," he said.
Though this, it will be possible to bring at least 35 lakh people under complete vaccination, according to the physician.
If it is too late to get the second dose after giving the first one, then the entire vaccination programme might be ruined, added the health expert.
Purchased from India's Serum Institute through Beximco Pharmaceuticals, 50 lakh doses of vaccines arrived in the country on 25 January. Bangladesh now has 70 lakh doses of vaccine including another 20 lakh doses gifted by India.
According to an agreement for 3 crore doses of vaccines to be obtained from Serum through Beximco, the next 5o lakh doses are due to be in the country on 25 February.
Dr Khurshid Alam said there is a very crucial politics going on all over the world with vaccines, which are necessary for everyone.
The physician makes an apprehension that if the vaccine-producing countries fail to meet their own demand, their governments may not allow exports although Beximco continues to give assurance that it will supply the jabs at the right time.
"But we are considering the overall situation as well," he said.
"We had plan A and B on vaccination subject to its arrival," he maintained.
According to the previous plan, two lakh people were supposed to be vaccinated daily. However, no decision has been made yet on how many people will be vaccinated per day, said a source in the health directorate.
Vaccines will be given from a total of 6,995 centres across the country, of which 354 have been listed in Dhaka.
IEDCR Principal Scientific Officer Dr ASM Alamgir, also member of Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Core Committee, told The Business Standard that a meeting on vaccine distribution was held at the Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday chaired by its principal secretary.
The meeting focused on vaccination, however, nothing has not been finalised yet, he said.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Zahid Malik said at a programme on Thursday that although it was not decided how many people would be vaccinated in the first phase, vaccination would continue throughout the year.
Vaccine will be given in phases depending on what is in store, he said, adding that it is not an issue of 30 lakh or 60 lakh, vaccine will be rolled out subject to its arrival.
The health minister said earlier, registration was a bit slow, but now it is getting faster. So far, 1 lakh and 5o thousand people have registered for vaccination.
"We request all to receive the coronavirus vaccine, and through vaccination, we will restrain the transmission of coronavirus," he added.
The minister said Sheikh Russell National Gastroliver Institute and Hospital in Mohakhali has been dedicated for the vaccination of ministers and lawmakers.
He urged the ministers and lawmakers to get vaccinated in their respective areas.
Bangladesh to get 12.8 million Oxford Covid-19 vaccines under COVAX facility
Under the COVAX facility, Bangladesh will get 12,792,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines primarily through the World Health Organization (WHO). It has been indicated at COVAX's interim distribution forecast published on February 3. The amount of the doses is in proportion to population size.
Apart from Serum Institute of India, Bangladesh will get the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine from a Korean Company, said Dr ASM Alamgir, principal scientific officer of Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control And Research (IEDCR).
He said the country would get 50 lakh doses of vaccines from Covax by March.
"We have started vaccination with the Oxford vaccine. We are also getting Oxford vaccines from Covax. It is good for us," he added.
According to the COVAX's interim distribution forecast, Pakistan will be getting 17.2 million doses, India 79.1 million, Nigeria 16 million, Indonesia 13.7 million, Bangladesh 12.8 million and Brazil 10.6 million.