Dhaka's Green Road resident Amor Krishna Shaha arrived at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Convention Centre around 1:10pm on Wednesday afternoon. The 70-year-old entered the convention centre by showing an SMS on his mobile phone. He took a token from the information booth, signed an agreement paper and received his first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
It took less than five minutes from entry to completion of vaccination.
"I registered on 13 February and received the SMS on Tuesday night. It took nearly an hour to come to the convention centre from Green Road, but the entire process for vaccination completed in less than five minutes," the senior citizen told The Business Standard.
Amor Shaha said he had assumed that he would have to line up for hours to reach the vaccination booth and more time to get the shot. But the prompt public service was completely opposite and it amazed him.
Like Shaha, 1,467 people took the vaccine at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University vaccination centre – so far the largest one in Bangladesh.
"It was beyond my wildest imagination that vaccination management under the government arrangement could be so nice. The inoculation campaign has changed my outlook about government hospitals," Amor added.
Not only Dhaka residents, people at upazila level also expressed satisfaction over the ongoing vaccination campaign.
Tahsina Begum, 55, and her neighbour took the vaccine in the northern district Nilphamari on Tuesday afternoon.
She said the nurse administered the shot and she felt almost nothing afterwards.
"The vaccination centre on the first floor is very clean. It took just minutes to complete the entire process," she told TBS.
Tahsina Begum said they had to rest for thirty minutes after the vaccination. They were told to call the phone number on the vaccination card if they develop pain or fever. Besides, local community clinic members visited Tahsina at her home Wednesday.
Khorshed Alam, deputy director of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), told TBS that management improvement just requires a bit of sincerity.
"Our 70 nurses, Red Crescent members and Ansar personnel are all working to run the vaccination campaign smoothly. More than 1,200 people are coming to our centre every day, but still there is no complaint," he added.
Bangladesh vaccinated 2.67 lakh people Wednesday – the 11th day of the nationwide Covid-19 immunisation drive. With this, the country has vaccinated 1,586,368 people since the campaign was rolled out on 7 February.
The country is carrying out the immunisation at 1,005 centres across the country. Except for the weekends, 2,400 teams are inoculating the citizens from 8am to 2:30pm every day.
At a centre, an Ansar man will allow an individual in after checking the SMS he or she received for vaccination. Then the Red Crescent volunteers escort the recipient, and guide the person during and after the vaccination.
Nafiz Kamal Nibir, Red Crescent team leader at the BSMMU centre, said though they already had first aid training, they received special drills on vaccination management prior to the campaign. The volunteer said their 450 members are working at vaccine centres in Dhaka and 4,200 across the country.
Meanwhile, the health directorate trained the nurses and other health workers before rolling out the mass inoculation.
A nurse at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital said public nurses were already skilled at administering intramuscular injections. In the health directorate training, they were taught it again.
After administering injections, the nurse said they were trained about patient management and cold chain mismanagement.
On top of all public hospital facilities, getting the shots without any lobbying or recommendation from influential people delighted the people.
Journalist Shakhawat Liton received the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine at BSMMU Wednesday.
He said it seemed that he would have to wait for an hour as he saw 250-300 people upon his arrival.
"But it took four to five minutes, which was completely beyond my imagination. It was amazing that one can be inoculated in such a well-organised manner under public arrangement without any kind of lobbying or recommendation," he added.
Professor Abul Bashar Mohammed Khurshid Alam, director general of the health directorate, told TBS they tried to discard the idea of lobbying for availing healthcare at government medical facilities.
"We had a series of meetings with hospitals so that the people could get the vaccine easily. A health directorate team inspected the hospitals to see their preparations and management. We tried to stick to the plan from the very beginning," he added.
Professor Khurshid Alam sought the all-out cooperation from the people so that they can maintain the management for the rest of the campaign.
Professor Nazrul Islam, a noted virologist and also a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, said the vaccination campaign is an evident that something good can be achieved under the government arrangement if there is sincerity.
He warned of engaging the private sector to the inoculation campaign. Instead, Prof Nazrul advocated for enhancing the capacity of government hospitals for the campaign if required.