The countrywide Covid-19 vaccine campaign, after going smoothly for over two months, has apparently ground to a halt. The reason ascribed is dearth of adequate number of the shots earmarked for people. They include many getting the first shot; the second one remains stuck in uncertainty. The incomplete 2-dose vaccine continues to spawn myriad speculations. Some of them comprise misgivings about possible physical complications for those receiving single doses. The health authorities have, however, assured them of a hazard-free gap and effectiveness of the vaccines. Adverse impact of the mix of two different manufacturers' jabs is still under debate. In brief, a study on understanding the vaccines' mix-and-match dilemma is underway.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh is poised to purchase vaccines from the Chinese state company Sinopharm on an emergency basis. These doses do not include the 500,000 Chinese vaccines sent to Bangladesh as gift. Dhaka also expects to receive 106,000 doses of the Pfizer corona vaccines under the global programme COVAX by June. The country has also approached Canada, the US and some other countries for their AstraZeneca vaccines to meet the immediate needs. Against this urgency-filled backdrop, the complacency and the laidback attitude of the general people towards the pandemic emerges as hara-kiri of sorts to the compulsive pessimists. In spite of the experts' warning over a third wave of the Covid-19, a large number of the Bangladesh people remain unfazed. At discussions on the electronic media, epidemiologists continue to urge all adults to get vaccinated at the soonest after the vaccines' arrival in the country. Many do not seem to care a fig about these entreaties. What's most shocking is they haven't taken the vaccine, and have resolved not to take the 2-dose shots. They cite the now-discarded 'theory' of developing blood clots after the completion of the vaccines. These people are few and far between. But they hold sway on large numbers of people including their near and dear ones. This troubling development calls for reinforced campaigns about the social and national imperative of getting duly vaccinated.
In terms of the pandemic's ferocity and the ravages, Bangladesh is nowhere near India, currently one of the world's worst-affected countries. In order to face up to challenges posed by the pandemic, the country has been found hardening its public movement restrictions and enforcement of safety measures with the spread of the scourge. By an order of lockdown, they mean a lockdown without ambiguity. Police or other security personnel spare none found breaking pandemic-prompted measures like night curfews. Instant fines, short jail-term etc have become the order of the day. These orders apply to Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata with equal stringency. A similar scenario characterised many other large cities around the world.
It's finally the city residents who benefited through their short-term sacrifice of freedom to move about freely. In Europe, a number of big cities have started reopening with health guidelines in force. Given the carefree shopping spree by the Dhaka dwellers during a 'shutdown' and their recklessness while returning to the capital after Eid holidays, the country seems to be gleefully inviting a 'third wave' of the pandemic. What's most concerning is the asymptomatic virus-carrying holiday home-goers may have this time taken the pandemic to the idyllic village localities. Incredulous of the Covid-19 scourge until recently, the innocent villagers may now have to pay a heavy price for no fault of theirs. The competence of rural health complexes in keeping the villagers vaccinated and, thus, protected has already been brought into question. Who'll come forward to stand by these helpless Bangladeshis?