Medical &Health

Countrywide Covid-19 vaccination drive from Feb 7: Health Minister

A countrywide mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign will start from February 7, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has fixed the time, he said after visiting the Kurmitola General Hospital in the capital.

Bangladesh is scheduled to launch the coronavirus vaccination drive on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a study of Dhaka University’s Institute of Health Economics found that only 32 percent of Bangladeshis want to take the COVID-19 vaccine at the moment partially due to doubts over the vaccine’s effectiveness and concerns over side-effects.

Overall 84 percent people showed interest to take the vaccine at some stage – after a few weeks, months and years – but did not want to take the vaccine right now as they have doubt about efficacy, side-effect and some even believe the vaccines do not work, the study found.

Some 3,560 randomly selected people above 18 years were respondents of the study beginning January 10. The respondents were from 16 upazilas of eight districts in eight divisions and from Dhaka city area.

The vaccination is set to begin when Bangladesh’s Covid-19 fatalities rose to 8,055 with 14 more coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours until Tuesday morning.

“The mortality rate is now 1.51 percent,” the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said in a handout. Meanwhile, 515 new cases pushed up the national tally to 532,916.

Bangladesh reported its first cases on March 8 and the first death on March 18.

The caseload hit 500,000-mark on December 20 while the death toll exceeded 7,000 on December 12.

On Tuesday, the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) cleared Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use after testing samples of the 5 million doses brought from India on Monday.

“We’ve thoroughly tested samples from the consignment,” DGDA Director General Maj Gen Mahbubur Rahman told a press briefing in Dhaka on Tuesday.

Bangladesh approved the emergency use of this vaccine on Jan 7. It inked a deal with the Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd last month for procuring 30 million doses of the vaccine between January and June (five million doses each month).

The country received 2 million doses of vaccine as ‘gift’ from India last week.

Source: United News of Bangladesh