Intending to contain coronavirus infection, the government has taken steps to vaccinate the prisoners.
On Thursday, 8,000 inmates of Chattogram Jail will get the vaccine while vaccination of prisoners in almost all districts will start from next week.
Dr Shamsul Haque, member secretary of the Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Committee of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told The Business Standard, "Letters have been sent to civil surgeons in different districts to prepare a list of prisoners for vaccination. The prisoners will be inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine."
Mohammad Sajjad Hossain, assistant inspector general of the Department of Prisons, told TBS, "There were 84,415 prisoners across the country on 6 December. Of them, 81,077 were males and 3,338 females."
Meanwhile, the districts have started making preparations to vaccinate the prisoners.
Chattogram Civil Surgeon Dr Md Elias Chowdhury said, "The jail authorities have prepared an air-conditioned room to store the vaccines where every day around 500 prisoners will be inoculated."
The civil surgeon visited the probable vaccination centre on 2 December, said Shafiqul Islam Khan, senior superintendent of Chattogram jail.
During the visit, the civil surgeon was accompanied by Jail Hospital's Medical Officer Shamim Reza and representatives of the World Health Organisation.
Cox's Bazar Civil Surgeon Md Mahbubur Rahman told TBS that 4,000 inmates of the district jail will be vaccinated next week.
Meanwhile, a letter from the DGHS reached the Khulna civil surgeon on Monday. The matter will be decided in a day or two.
Khulna Civil Surgeon Dr Niaz Mohammad said, "The decision on how many prisoners will be vaccinated will be taken after discussion with the deputy commissioner on Tuesday or Wednesday. Hopefully, we will be able to vaccinate the prisoners by next week."
The Naogaon civil surgeon has asked the district superintendent of police to compile a list of prisoners in the district jail.
Talking to TBS Nagoan Civil Surgeon Dr ABM Abu Hanif said, "Once the list of prisoners is ready, we will start vaccinating them from next Monday. We will talk to the DGHS about whether any other vaccine can be given if there is no provision of AC room to preserve the Pfizer vaccine."
Prisons across the country have a total capacity of 42,538 inmates, but there are currently twice as many prisoners in the country's jails. Therefore, experts fear that if someone is infected with coronavirus in the prison, the infection will spread quickly. Amid concerns over a new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, they said that the decision to vaccinate prisoners is justified.
Dr M Mushtaq Hussain, an advisor to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, told TBS, "The risk of spreading the infection is high where many people live together.
Although belatedly, it is a good initiative. However, it is important to ensure that all prisoners receive the vaccine."
So far, 6.50 crore Bangladeshi adults have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine while 3.81 crores have had two doses. In Bangladesh, the nationwide vaccination programme began on 7 February with the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccines.
4 more die of Covid in 24hrs
Bangladesh reported four more deaths from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours till 8 am Monday.
Besides, 277 more people tested positive for the virus during the same period.
The current positivity rate was reported at 1.44% after 19,237 samples were tested across the country.
With the latest additions, the death toll reached 28,005 and the case tally increased to 15,77,720 in the country.