The age limit for Covid-19 vaccinations is likely to be reduced, depending on the availability of the jabs, while the first phase of the vaccination programme will continue till June-July.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said this at a special meeting on the deployment and management of Covid-19 vaccines at the Secretariat Wednesday afternoon.
"Now people over the age of 40 are getting vaccinated. If more vaccines are available, we will consider reducing the age limit," added the minister.
"We are also working on making sure that an ample amount of second doses is in our hands," he continued.
Zahid said they discussed the vaccination programme that will continue till June-July and then they will hold further talks on how vaccination programme can be run till December.
The health minister added that there is a plan to administer 40 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, including 1.9 million COVAX doses, by June-July.
However, any change in vaccine availability might also lead to change in its management as well, he said, adding that the government will provide the latest information on vaccine management every 15 days from now on.
Schools, colleges and universities are going to be reopened and there has been discussion that a certain section of teachers, staff and students will be vaccinated as per the directive of the prime minister, according to Zahid.
Foreigners working for projects under different ministries will also be vaccinated accordingly if the foreign ministry provides the list while those working for five-star hotels will also get vaccines.
If any private organisations bring in vaccines upon the drug administration's approval, people will have to buy them; whereas the vaccine rolled out by the government is free now and will be so in future as well, added Zahid.
The health minister said various donor agencies around the world have shown interest in providing about $3,500 million to buy more vaccines in future.
At a function in the capital's Tejgaon Wednesday morning Health Secretary Abdul Mannan said they are in contact with Johnson & Johnson, a United States-based company, to buy its single doses of Covid-19 vaccines. Meanwhile, another 30 million doses of the jabs will be bought from India's Serum Institute as people's interest in the vaccine is on the rise.
Mannan said 80% of the people of the country will receive the novel coronavirus vaccine.
Covid-19 cases rise again
Bangladesh recorded five more deaths from the novel coronavirus and 614 new cases in the last 24 hours till 8am Wednesday.
The number of daily Covid-19 infections had been below 600 for the past five weeks. Earlier, on 25 January, 602 cases were recorded. Over the last seven days, daily Covid-19 cases have been rising gradually.
The country's death toll from the virus now stands at 8,428, read a press release issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on Wednesday.
The latest day's infection rate was 3.74% of the total tests, and the death rate stands at 1.54%. A total 16,458 samples were tested in 217 labs across the country in the past 24 hours.
At the same time, 936 patients were declared free of Covid-19 raising the total number of recoveries to 4,99,624 with a 91.18% recovery rate.