The nationwide daylong Covid-19 vaccination campaign is underway as the special drive began this morning to expedite the vaccination programme to combat the outbreak of the deadly virus.
Dr Shamsul Haque, member secretary of the National Covid-19 Vaccine Management Task force, said, "The countrywide daylong Covid-19 vaccination campaign began at 9am today... we have directed all designated centres to continue vaccination throughout the day, if people come to receive vaccines."
In case of administering first and second dose of coronavirus vaccine, Bangladesh has made a significant progress, which has acted as a shield to fight against COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
"We have conducted a series of special vaccination campaign, which virtually yielded good result in expansion of vaccination coverage. Now we want to increase booster dose coverage to prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus," Haque added.
"The government has decided to observe the nationwide vaccination for expanding booster dose coverage across the country to prevent the spread of coronavirus," Health Minister Zahid Maleque told a press conference virtually at Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) here on Monday(July 18).
Secretary of Health Service Division Dr Md Anwar Hossain Hawlader, DGHS Director General Prof Dr Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam and senior officials of different relevant organizations, among others, attended the press conference.
"The people aged 18 and above will be eligible for receiving Covid-19 booster dose during the daylong campaign ...They (eligible people) will be inoculated booster dose after completing four months," he added.
The government has set a target to inoculate 75 lakh people under booster and second dose during the daylong drive, the minister added.
Maleque said as part of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has brought 76.05 percent people under first dose of vaccination coverage, 70.3percent under second dose while 17.9 percent people have been brought under the booster dose coverage.
Bangladesh has been lauded globally for expansion of vaccination coverage which eventually has helped the countrymen to protect from the lethal virus, he said, adding, "Five types of vaccines -- Astrazeneca, Pfizer, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Janssen-- are now available in the country. We have 2.76 crore vaccines in stock,"
The government has set up 16,181 vaccination centres across the country, the health minister said, adding, "As many as 623 are permanent vaccination centres while 15,558 are temporarily to conduct the nationwide campaign."
He said in order to inoculate targeted people, a total of 33,246 health workers will perform their duties during the campaign while some 49,869 volunteers will extend their services to make the vaccination drive a success.
Maleque said vaccination centres have been set at all public hospitals, specialized hospitals, health complexes, city corporations, pouroshovas, upazila and unions parishads.
Dr Ayesha Akhter, a physician of TB hospital at Shyamoli said, "People started gathering at our hospital from early hours and a large number of people are queuing to receive vaccines and we will continue vaccination services throughout the day."
"Those who have already received first and second dose of COVID-19 vaccine should take booster dose. As COVID-19 vaccination programme was launched last year and now it is right time to increase booster dose coverage to control of the spread of the virus," she added.
As of July 18, a total of 27,97,68,106 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, including booster doses, were administered while the countrywide vaccination campaign was launched on February 7, last year.
"A total of 12,94,38,055 people were administered the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine till yesterday (Monday) while 11,97,86,233 received the second dose across the country during the period," according to a data issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
As many as 3,0,5,43,818 people received the booster doses of the vaccine to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, it added.
"A total of 3,37,88,634 students aged 12-17 years were vaccinated with first and second doses of the Covid-19 vaccines. Of them, 1,73,48,250 students received the first dose while 1,60,67,252 were immunized with the second dose of the jabs," the DGHS sources said.
Some 3,73,132 floating people have so far been inoculated across the country, the sources added.
"Till date, Bangladesh received over 30 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines... Either the country got the vaccine doses under COVAX facilities or through purchase," the DGHS continued.
"The government has taken the decision to inoculate children aged between five and 12 years with Covid-19 vaccines after approval of the World Health Organization (WHO)... The country has sufficient number of vaccines, which are eligible for the children," the health ministry sources said.
There are 2.20 crore children aged between five and 12 in the country, the ministry said, adding: "Registration is mandatory for them through "Surokkha App" for receiving the vaccine."
On November 1, 2021, the vaccination campaign for students, aged between 12and 17, began at eight centers in Dhaka city. Afterwards, the campaign has been expanded across the country.