UNICEF has listed Bangladesh, Peru, Vietnam and the Philippines as "Covid-19 Vaccine Success Stories" in their recent report, noting that Bangladesh's vaccination rate has risen sharply.
When the first COVID-19 vaccines supplied by COVAX touched down in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, in June 2021, less than four per cent of all adults were fully vaccinated, said UNICEF.
Fast forward less than a year and that number has risen dramatically, said the UN agency, adding that by the beginning of April, 67 per cent of the population had received two doses.
Bangladesh has advanced eight notches to rank 5th out of 121 countries across the globe on Nikkei’s Covid-19 Recovery Index.
Of the other South Asian countries in the list, Nepal ranked 6th, Pakistan 23rd, Sri Lanka 31st, and India were 70th. With a score of 80 on the index, Bangladesh ranked only below Qatar, the UAE, Cambodia and Rwanda in the latest edition of the index published recently.
COVAX has played a crucial role in that achievement. More than half of all the COVID-19 vaccines delivered to Bangladesh last year were through the programme, according to UNICEF.
Political priority at the highest level spearheaded by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself; continuous diplomatic efforts to acquire sufficient amount of vaccines from bilateral as well as multilateral sources and an established capacity, in terms of infrastructure and human resources, to roll out large-scale nationwide immunization programmes are mainly three factors enabled Bangladesh to pull of this amazing feat, said Shah Ali Farhad, a former special assistant to the Prime Minister, while sharing his observation in a Facebook post.
Young volunteers in Bangladesh have played an important role in making sure those shots get to people’s arms, UNICEF said.
“They’ve been reaching out to communities to amplify the message that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and available.”
Mukta is one of those volunteers and has been driven by a desire to help other people during the pandemic and so she joined UNICEF as a volunteer.
Mukta has been going door to door, often talking to elderly people, families living in slums, and those who don’t have access to a mobile phone or the internet.
“I’ve seen so many vulnerable people,” says Mukta. “I enjoy going to people’s homes and raising awareness about vaccination. I love helping them.”