Nuruzzaman Liton ##
The Covid-19 vaccination programme began on Sunday morning across the country with a target to inoculate 3.5 million people in the first phase.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque inaugurated the vaccination campaign through video conferencing from the health directorate in the morning.
Later, the minister received his shot of coronavirus vaccine at Sheikh Russel Gastroliver Institute & Hospital in the capital’s Mohakhali area.
Some 2,400 teams are working in 1,005 hospitals under the vaccination programme, DGHS said.
A total of 204 teams are facilitating the vaccination in 50 hospitals in the capital and 2,196 teams are carrying out the job in 955 hospitals outside Dhaka.
Some 7,344 vaccination teams are operating the vaccination programme across the country.
According to the DGHS, around 3.5 lakh people registered for vaccine till Saturday evening.
People who registered for vaccine received text messages Saturday night confirming the date and centre for their vaccination.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque will receive the vaccine on Sunday at Sheikh Russel National Gastroliver Institute and Hospital vaccination centre in Dhaka.
Home Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Khan along with his wife will also get vaccinated at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital in the capital on Sunday, DGHS sources said.
The front-liners will receive the vaccine in the first phase while people under 18 and pregnant mothers will not be given the vaccine.
The vaccine seekers can also register physically visiting the vaccine centres across the country, the DGHS sources said.
The health and family welfare ministry said the government has decided to inoculate 3.5 million people in the first month of the vaccination programme.
The country now has a stock of 7 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine, of which the government procured 5 million doses from Serum Institute of India and the rest were gifted by the Indian government.
Two doses of the Covishield vaccine will be given to each vaccine recipient in an eight-week interval.
At least 100 people will be vaccinated daily from each vaccine centre across the country, the DGHS sources said.
Each of the vaccination team is comprised of two vaccinators and four volunteers while the vaccinators include nurses, sub-assistant community medical officers and family welfare inspectors.
The DGHS has also asked not to grant leave to health workers until February 10 in a bid to ensure the smooth rollout of Covid-19 vaccine across the country.
The vaccine centres will carry out the vaccination from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm every day except Friday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the vaccination programme virtually when 26 front liners received Covishield vaccine in Kurmitola General Hospital on January 27. And 541 others received the vaccine in five hospitals in the capital on the next day.
A total of 567 people who received their first doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine were under observation for seven days.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) sources and some vaccine recipients said no major side effect of the vaccine has been found yet among the vaccine recipients.
Bangladesh plans to inoculate 80 per cent of its population and the Covid-19 shots will be administered in five stages under three phases, according to the national vaccine distribution and preparation plan.