The government does not have any statistic about how many transport workers got vaccinated against the Covid-19. It is disconcerting to note that most of the drivers, conductors and helpers of different types of vehicles including buses have not taken vaccines yet. An overwhelming majority of transport workers across the country are yet to be vaccinated due to the absence of any systematic plan on the part of the government and the owners as well.
According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation, there are at least 50 lakh transportation workers in the country, including 10 lakh for passenger buses and coachers. Besides, 20 lakh people are working at different motor garages and other transport related jobs across the country.
The government will have to bring
all the transport workers under
vaccination on a priority basis
The government in its fresh restriction to tackle Omicron variant has asked the drivers, conductors and helpers of all types of vehicles that they must have Covid-19 vaccine certificates while they will be on roads and highways. The transport leaders and workers said like garment workers, the government however, does not have a separate plan for them and they are being ignored in many ways to get vaccinated.
Transport workers are always at risk as they have to move through crowded places every day. It has been noticed that the transport workers always show the ‘don’t-care’ attitude towards the Covid-19 pandemic. We think such attitude towards a lethal virus must be changed at any cost. Otherwise, the situation will be taking a serious turn in coming days.
If a Covid-19 infected conductor realise fare from one passenger to another of a bus or other transport, people boarding the vehicles will also be infected.
Therefore, the government will have to bring all the transport workers under vaccination on a priority basis, considering them as front liners since they are doing their jobs amid the pandemic to carry the passengers and goods.
An independent vaccination centre dedicated only for the transport workers will also have to be set up in capital Dhaka, other metropolitan cities and district and towns immediately. Besides, vaccination of drivers and helpers of truck, covered vans, auto-rickshaw, Nosimon, Korimon, and Votvoti which ply the country’s remote area will also have to be ensured as early as possible.