General

Bangladesh to get Covid vaccines for 4.5 crore people by May-June

Bangladesh will get Covid-19 vaccines for some 4.5 crore people by May-June next year, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said Monday.

“We’ll get three crore doses of vaccine for 1.5 crore people at the end of January or early February next year and six more crore doses for three crore people by May-June,” he told reporters after the Cabinet meeting held at the Secretariat.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting, joining it virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban.

The training for vaccination has been started and EPI vaccination chain will be engaged massively for the Covid vaccination, Islam said, adding that the vaccine issue was raised during the unscheduled discussion at the Cabinet meeting.

Replying to a question, he said the government is now thinking only about the Oxford vaccine, but would not be rigid about any other vaccine which gets the WHO’s approval.

About the use of masks, the Prime Minister directed to implement the ‘No Mask No Service’ policy strictly, said the Cabinet Secretary.

Covid situation

Coronavirus cases were first reported in China in December last year. Three months later, it was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

So far, 76,928,774 cases have been reported globally with 1,695,307 deaths. The US has the highest number of cases and fatalities.

The US on Friday approved a second COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Inc and the National Institutes of Health. It approved the first one from Pfizer Inc and Germany’s BioNTech, kicking off the biggest vaccination drive in US history.

India has the second-highest number of cases and third highest deaths. Brazil, on the other hand, ranks second in terms of fatalities and third with its caseload.

Bangladesh reported its first cases on March 8 and the first death on March 18. On Monday, the health authorities announced detection of 1,470 new cases and 32 deaths.

The country has so far recorded 502,183 cases with 7,312 deaths.

Covid-19 mortality rate in Bangladesh stood at 1.45 percent, the Directorate General of Health Services said.

Vaccine hope

Bangladesh signed an agreement on November 5 to get 30 million doses of the AstraZeneca’s vaccine from India’s Serum Institute once it is available.

Last Thursday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured that India would support effective and timely delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to Bangladesh. Pharma companies on both sides have already arranged plans for supply of vaccines. The prospect of cooperation in production will also be explored.

Local health experts said Bangladesh should now focus on other preventive measures like ensuring cent percent use of masks and encouraging people to follow health hygiene rules to contain the virus alongside continuing strong efforts to have any other effective vaccine.

The government has been warning of a second wave of Covid-19 infection in the winter months. The closure of educational institutions has been extended until January 16.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been urging everyone to properly follow the health guidelines and assuring the country’s people that the government will procure the vaccine once it is available.

Source: United News of Bangladesh