Today (February 07) marks one year since the ongoing mass vaccination campaign against coronavirus in Bangladesh.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has claimed that a large number of people have been vaccinated despite the limitations, this is obviously an achievement.
However, the authorities consider bringing the floating people and dropouts under vaccination as a big challenge.
On the other hand, health experts say that due to lack of proper planning, mass vaccination activities could not reach the desired goal.
Bangladesh began vaccination programme on February 07 last year. At first this activity was started among a certain population, but it started expanding gradually. Later, 12-year-old citizens also came under its purview. At the moment, activities are underway to bring the floating population under vaccination.
According to DGHS, 9,91,37,738 people have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine across the country in a year. Some 6.5 crore have taken the second dose. About 21 lakh people have already received the third dose (booster) of the vaccine.
Marking the anniversary of vaccination program, Director of the Expanded Immunization Programme (EPI) Md. Shamsul Haque said, “We have had to go through a lot of adversity regarding the coronavirus vaccine throughout the last year. Uncertainty about getting the vaccine, getting it on time even with the money, there were many such obstacles in the beginning. Gradually we have overcome the crisis.”
However, experts believe Bangladesh has not been able to make full use of capacity of the immunization programme. They say there was an impression of inefficiency in vaccine collection and class selection. Its own production system has not yet been created, which has pushed this activity back from the goal.
Professor Sayedur Rahman, Chairman, Department of Pharmacology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said, “We have not been successful enough in collecting vaccines, vaccinating, selecting priorities, conducting our own research, capacity building and production capacity, producing first and second doses at our own plants. In one year, about 10 crore people have been given first dose while second dose to 6.5 crore. That’s a lot less than we can handle.”
Meanwhile, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said on Monday (February 07) that 26 lakh people have been given booster dose across the country so far. Vaccination of all including booster doses, will be completed by December this year. So far, 82 percent of those who are under coverage have been vaccinated. This huge work has cost more than Tk20,000 crore.