Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday kicked off the much-anticipated Covid-19 vaccination campaign in Bangladesh and asked all the relevant officials to work with “utmost sincerity” to make it a “success”.
She described January 27 as a ‘historic day’ for Bangladesh as she said, “Many countries of the world are yet to start vaccination. But, we have started it despite being a country of vast population and limited resources.”
“We want protection of all from the coronavirus,” she said while inaugurating the campaign at the Kurmitola General Hospital through videoconference from her official Ganabhaban residence.
“I want to say to you all to work with sincerity to make the Covid-19 vaccination a success. We want cooperation from all so that everything goes well to this end”.
Runu Veronika Costa, a senior staff nurse, received the first jab. The prime minister termed her as a “very brave” person as she said she was not afraid at all.
Bangladesh is one of the first few countries in the world that could start Covid-19 vaccination early.
The premier said that the vaccination programme has been taken following all the guidelines and protocols of the World Health organizations (WHO).
Followed by Runu, four more government officials- Dr Ahmed Lutful Moben, Prof Dr Nasima Sultana, police officer Didarul Islam and Brigadier General M Imran Hamid were vaccinated.
On Thursday, 500 medical staff in five hospitals – Kurmitola, Kuwait Maitree Hospital, Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Mugdha Medical College Hospital and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University – will be vaccinated before the nationwide inoculation which will begin on February 7.
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.
Sheikh Hasina said though the vaccination programme has been taken following the protocols of the WHO, some people are out to criticize the initiative as they have a disease of feeling bad over anything good for the nation.
“They feel unwell when good things happen. Feeling unwell is a disease. I don’t know whether there is any treatment or vaccine for the disease,” she added.
Despite the fact, she said, the government is ready to administer them with vaccines as their criticism inspires them to work with urgency in procuring the Covid-19 vaccine.
The Prime Minister thanked her Indian counterpart NarendraModi for giving the Covid-19 vaccine.
The premier gave heartfelt congratulations to the vaccine recipients and wished them good health.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque spoke at the function while PMO Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah moderated the function from the Ganabhaban end.