80 lakh Covid shots in a single day!
The government will run a special campaign tomorrow to inoculate 80 lakh people with the first dose of Covid-19 vaccines and mark the birthday of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said yesterday.
"Those who have been waiting to get vaccines after registration will get priority in the campaign. Only the first dose, mainly the Sinopharm vaccines, will be administered on that day," he said while announcing the programme in an online briefing.
Starting from 9:00am, the campaign will be conducted in 16,153 centres set up in around 4,600 unions, 1,054 municipalities and 433 wards in the city corporation areas across the country.
Males aged 50 and above, females above 25 and students 18 and above will get priority.
Mothers-to-be and lactating mothers will not be vaccinated during this campaign.
To receive vaccines, people have to carry registration cards or National Identity cards.
Around 80,000 health workers and volunteers will be deployed to conduct the vaccination programme, the minister said.
The minister, however, did not mention whether people who registered would get text messages for getting the shots.
In reply to a query, he said, "People will be able to know in time."
Asked, Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora, additional director general (planning and development) of the health directorate, told The Daily Star, "One who has registered for a certain centre, like upazila health complex, will go to nearby centres in his or her union."
"Due to technical barriers, it may not be possible to mention the name of centre in text messages. But there will be an announcement through loudspeakers," Prof Flora said.
On August 7-12, the government vaccinated around 34 lakh people in a similar special campaign which was marked by chaos and shortage of vaccines.
Since then, the government did not hold any special campaigns due to the shortage of vaccines.
In the last one month, the health officials often said the government will inoculate two crore people each month and 10 crore by December in total.
Asked about this target, the minister said, "It will depend on vaccine availability and our capacity. We will try to administer two-three crore jabs each month. We will try."
"We have received around five crore vaccine shots so far. Of those, we have administered four crore. We hope we will get enough vaccine doses by December and January," the minister added.
About the chaos in the vaccination centres last time, Maleque said, "You know we have thousands of vaccination centres. This was positive that people came en masse. In the past, people were not interested in taking vaccines, now they are … We have had experiences. Now there will be no problem."
For the second dose, a similar campaign will be held a month later, the minister added.
The country has received a total of 4,94,29,940 doses of Covid vaccines.
Of those, around 4.02 crore jabs were administered as the first and second doses as of Saturday.
The government has also signed a contract to buy six more crore doses of Sinopharm vaccine which, according to officials, will start to arrive by this month.
Besides, the government has been trying to buy 10 crore vaccine jabs through the World Health Organization.
Despite this, the uncertainty over vaccine supply is not over and it would slow the vaccination drive, experts said.
21 DIED, 980 INFECTED
The health directorate reported 21 deaths from Covid-19 in 24 hours till 8:00am yesterday.
In the same 24 hours, 980 more people tested positive for the virus.
With this, the number of Covid-19 deaths in the country rose to 27,414 and the number of confirmed cases to 15,51,351.
Yesterday, the positivity rate was 4.41 percent, below five percent for the fourth day in a row.