84% people willing to take Covid vaccine: Survey

Contrary to the common perception, a survey has found that 84 percent of people are willing to take Covid-19 vaccine in Bangladesh.

The Institute of Health Economics (IHE) of the Dhaka University and Bangladesh Como Modeling Team jointly conducted the survey on people's attitude toward Covid-19 vaccines between Jan 10 and Jan 25.

The findings were released on Tuesday, a day before the inauguration of the vaccination by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Some 3,560 people from 16 upazilas of eight divisions and two city corporations of Dhaka city participated in the survey, according to the IHE that held a virtual event to disseminate the survey.

The survey, however, found that most of the people are not prepared to receive the vaccine right now.

Among the survey participants, 32 percent are ready to take the vaccine at this moment while 22 percent after a few weeks, 27 percent after a few months and 3 percent after a year of observation. 16 percent of participants said they would never take a vaccine.

Of the participants, 54 percent are skeptical about the efficacy of the vaccine, 12 percent have doubts about the quality of the vaccine and 34 percent about the side effects.

Rich people are interested to take the vaccine for money while the people from the low income group are willing to be vaccinated if it is provided free.

The government earlier devised a plan for a nationwide drive with a target to give two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – eight weeks apart - to each of over 130 million people targeted to reach in five stages.

All will have to register themselves though www.suraksha.gov.bd.

On Monday, the government received 5 million doses of Oxford vaccine from the Serum Institute of India as part of the tripartite purchase deal between the health ministry, Beximco Pharma and the vaccine maker.

This is the first consignment of the 30 million doses planned to buy under the deal. Five more batches containing 5 million in each are scheduled to arrive in phases over the next few months.

Earlier, the government received two million doses as a gift from India.

According to the EPI, the immunisation authorities in Bangladesh, will administer the vaccine in 6 million people first. One million doses will be kept for the second dose which will be given after the arrival of another 5 million doses as second consignment.

The second shot will be administered two months after the first jab as per the Oxford-AstraZeneca guidelines for its vaccine.

The Directorate General of Health Services has already sent a letter to all the agencies concerned asking them to prepare a list of eligible people of different strata to be vaccinated in the first phase.

There will be no vaccination centres outside the government hospitals.

Private hospitals will be able to take the permission as a vaccine center if they maintain certain criteria as part of the precautionary measures to treat any adverse reactions.

A cell has been set up to regularly circulate information about vaccination through a bulletin, according to the health secretary.

The government will also conduct antibody tests on the vaccinated people to see how long the Covid antibodies last.

Everything related to the Covid vaccination will be controlled through a mobile app called "Shurokkha".

Director General for health services Prof Abul Bashar Mohammed Khurshid Alam said no one would be allowed to receive the vaccine doses without online registration.

“This is to preserve and compile the data of vaccine recipients for using that for analyses,” he said, asking people to take both the doses from the same centre.