Will jab 50pc by year-end
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday in parliament said efforts were underway to vaccinate students aged 12 and above as she spoke about a government plan to gradually inoculate 80 percent of the country's population against Covid-19.
The government wants to jab 50 percent of the population by December and it is taking measures in this regard following the World Health Organization guidelines, she said.
The population of Bangladesh is estimated to be over 16.5 crore.
Hasina, also the leader of the House, detailed the vaccination target while replying to a question from Rustum Ali Faraji, Jatiya Party lawmaker from Pirojpur-3, during a question-answer session chaired by Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury.
The PM said the age bar for receiving the jabs was lowered to 18 for university students and the government now plans to vaccinate all citizens above that age.
"Arrangements have already been made to collect more than 24.65 crore vaccine doses. Steps have been taken to get more than one crore doses every month," she added.
In the scripted answer, Hasina said her government prepared the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) and the plan has already been approved by the global Covax facility.
Initially, people aged 55 and above as well as front-line health workers and other professionals were given the vaccine on a priority basis. Now the government looks to gradually vaccinate 80 percent of the population under the NDVP, she said.
The PM said how many of every 100 people have to be vaccinated to develop herd immunity against the virus was still not clear. The matter is still under study and that is why the government currently plans to vaccinate all Bangladeshi citizens above the age of 18, she said.
In this connection, Hasina said the government is continuing its efforts to collect vaccines from different sources.
According to the WHO, at least 80 percent of the population has to be inoculated to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Hasina also mentioned that people with disabilities would also be able to take the shots using their social safety cards. The cards were handed to the ministries concerned.
Workers will be vaccinated on a priority basis as well, she added.
96.54 LAKH SHOTS IN STOCK
The PM told the House that six crore Sinopharm vaccine doses would arrive -- two crore each month -- from China between October and December.
Among the over 24.65 crore shots the government is supposed to get, more than 4.4 crore have already arrived in the country as gift or under different bilateral purchase agreements till September 12.
Till that date, the government had more than 96.54 lakh doses in stock, she said.
She also said people were given over 3.47 crore shots till September 12. Of the people, 2.09 crore received their first doses while 1.38 crore got both the doses.
Hasina said the government was using 673 vaccination centres across the country to take the ongoing vaccine campaign to the doorstep of people in the divisional, district and upazila headquarters.
She hoped that the government would be able to successfully overcome the pandemic with cooperation from all.
Hasina reiterated her call to the people to follow the health protocols and take the vaccine.
The country reported the first Covid cases in March last year. The government closed all educational institutions across the country the same month to curb the spread of the virus.
The schools resumed in-person classes on this Sunday (September 12), after around 18 months of closure, as the infection rate came down significantly.
Recently, 1.5 lakh students of medical, dental colleges and other health institutions returned to the classroom after taking both doses of the vaccine.
Mass inoculation against Covid-19 had remained suspended for over two months due to a shortage of doses. Bangladesh suspended administering the first dose of the vaccine on April 26. Registration of people for vaccination was suspended nine days later.
The government resumed administering the first dose on June 19 on a limited scale and then gradually expanded it.
People here have been receiving doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Sinopharm vaccines.