Target 60 lakh jabs in 6 days
The government has decided to inoculate at least 60 lakh people against Covid-19 in just six days starting from August 7, in what officials said would be a special campaign mainly targeting the elderly individuals in rural areas.
The plan is to vaccinate 10 lakh people each day in over 15,287 wards across the country, they added.
The ward councillors will coordinate the drive, making sure that people with little access to the registration process get inoculated even if they don't have the national ID card.
During the six days, the regular vaccination centres will give the jabs only to the individuals who had previously taken the first shot, officials said.
Inoculating the elderly people in the rural areas will be a challenge because there is no database on the target population, experts said.
"We can vaccinate one crore or more people in a month if the doses are available. We will try to vaccinate as many people as possible within a short time," Health Minister Zahid Maleque told The Daily Star yesterday.
He said the NID is required to register for inoculation. "But those who don't have the NID will also get the jab. There will be a special arrangement for them."
According to Election Commission officials, there are around 11 crore NID holders in the country.
Bangladesh has recorded 12,40,115 cases of Covid-19 and 20,467 deaths from the disease as of yesterday. Over 79 percent of those who died were aged over 50.
The country has so far inoculated 1.18 crore people, which is just over four percent of the population. And only 43 lakh of them got both the first and second shots. According to the World Health Organization, at least 80 percent of the population has to be inoculated to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The government will vaccinate people with 1 crore 34 lakh and 42 thousand doses from August 7. Of the doses, 1 crore 10 lakh 40 thousand will be administered in rural areas.
"The 60 lakh doses to be administered in six days are meant for those who have yet to get the first shot. The second dose will be administered in the same fashion," said a health official familiar with the development.
China's Sinopharm vaccine will be administered in the rural areas and district towns while the Moderna vaccine will be administered in the city corporation areas, he said.
The government has 55 lakh doses of the Moderna and 51 lakh doses of Sinopharm in stock.
A total of 1.10 crore doses will be administered in 13,800 rural wards, 15.58 lakh doses in 433 wards in the cities, and over 43,000thousand doses in 1,054 wards in the municipalities.
In every ward of the city corporation, there will be one permanent and two temporary centres, while in the municipality areas, there will be a vaccination team in each ward. The team will inoculate people four days a week.
Ward councillors will decide where to inoculate the residents of their respective area.
Officials will keep an account of the individuals who get the shots, and the information will be used to update the national database.
At an inter-ministerial meeting, chaired by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, at the Cabinet Division held on Tuesday, it was decided that local government representatives will be engaged in implementing the plan.
"The ministries will issue circulars and the Press Information Department (PID) has been asked to launch a mass campaign," the health minister said.
Renowned virologist and former VC of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital Prof Dr Nazrul Islam said community engagement is the key to make the drive a success.
"The local public representatives should create awareness in every village, so that people voluntarily come to the centres," he said.
Public health expert Be-Nazir Ahmed said the main challenge would be to inoculate the elderly ones.
"Who is there to see if they don't come for the vaccine?" he asked.
Before embarking on this special drive, the government should have prepared a database of those who are being prioritised.