Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque on Wednesday said the government under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh has taken multiple measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been successful in containing the deadly virus as the government has taken different effective initiatives promptly,” he told the COVID-19 vaccination campaign at Kurmitola General Hospital in the city.
The much-anticipated inoculation drive began with vaccinating a nurse at first while some 20 to 25 frontline Covid-19 fighters, including physicians, nurses, health workers, members of law enforcement agencies, army and journalists, will be inoculated on the first day.
Runu Veronika Costa, senior staff nurse, received the COVID-19 vaccine at first at Kurmitola General Hospital. Afterwards, four others — Dr Ahmed Lutful Moben, Additional Director General of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Nasima Sultana, Md Didarul Islam (traffic police) and Brig Gen M Imran Hamid also received the coronavirus vaccines.
Secretary of Health Service Division Abdul Mannan, Director General of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Dr Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, heads of different relevant organizations, senior officials and medical professionals, among others, were present at the function.
PMO Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah moderated the function from the Ganabhaban.
The health minister said Bangladesh has been lauded globally as the country is successfully facing the killer disease. Both the fatality and infection rate are lower compared to many developed countries including neighboring ones, he added.
At the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government has improved the total medical system by recruiting manpower, installing modern medical equipment and imposing health rules to fight the disease.
Director General of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Dr Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam said around 500 to 600 medical professionals of five hospitals — Kurmitola General Hospital, Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital, Mugda Medical College Hospital, Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) — will be given these vaccines ahead of launching the countrywide drive.
They (vaccine receivers) will be observed for seven days. “After the end of their seven-day observation, other listed people will be vaccinated during the nationwide vaccination campaign,” Khurshid Alam said.
The countrywide vaccination drive is set to begin on February 7, the health ministry said.
Bangladesh received its first ever COVID-19 vaccine consignment on January 21 (Thursday) as India sent 20 lakh doses of vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca as gift.
The first consignment of COVID-19 50 lakh Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines purchased by the government landed in Dhaka on January 25.
The total vaccine doses stand at 70 lakh doses now. The government has taken all necessary preparations for distribution and preservation of these 70 lakh doses of vaccine.