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The Financial Express

Covid-19 vaccination campaign

| Updated: February 16, 2021 22:15:44


People wait at the city’s Mugda Medical College and Hospital on Saturday for taking Covid-19 vaccines as the government’s inoculation drive continues across the country — FE photo by KAZ Sumon People wait at the city’s Mugda Medical College and Hospital on Saturday for taking Covid-19 vaccines as the government’s inoculation drive continues across the country — FE photo by KAZ Sumon

As the countrywide mass vaccination campaign enters its 9th day today, the national mood in general is upbeat. Refuting the various misgivings and speculative prejudices, people in eight divisions of the country are getting vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. As predicted, cities and towns dominate the scene --- Dhaka division being at the top followed by Chattogram. After a wary observation of the developments, the urban people's increasing eagerness to get registered online and receive vaccines has now emerged as something spectacular.  In contrast, the vast rural areas still show lukewarm interest. It has been learnt that the union-level online registration centres opened for the vital inoculation see only a handful of people coming to have their names registered. In fact, the village people in general have been blasé about the global pandemic since the very beginning. They used to take pride saying that villages remain unaffected by the 'city people's diseases'.

This pervasive resigned mood may turn life in villages upside down overnight. Even the electronic media campaigns have failed to make any impact on them. Thus the situation called for the imperative of advocacy drives on the social and door-to-door basis. The local healthcare authorities have, evidently, failed in this premier task. According to media reports, upon approaching the union-level public representatives about the lack of mass awareness regarding the vaccination, they flatly said they had not received any instruction from the upper level. Compared to this lackadaisical state, the enthusiasm for getting registered online and later inoculated points to the urban people's preparedness to face up to any adverse turn of the situation.  However, the cities, including the capital, also abound with depressing spectacles.

Although covering their mouths with face masks, people in Dhaka do not care a fig about maintaining physical distance in crowded spots like markets. Apart from this, public transports plying with passengers half their sitting capacity a couple of months ago do no longer follow the arrangement. In their place congested buses fill the city streets reminding commuters of the pre-pandemic Dhaka. Whereas conscious people are seen standing on queues to have their names registered online or get inoculated at hospitals, reckless flouting of health guidelines by others will not help the cause. It calls for stringent government interventions, as well as sensitisation drives to tell people about the benefits of vaccines.

Bangladesh is fortunate to have a sizeable number of vaccines on time. Many countries in other regions are reportedly still battling the pandemic's off-and-on reemergence. In vast areas, the new strains of the Covid-19 virus and its multiple mutations have emerged as fresh threats. With half a dozen more vaccines about to roll out, doctors are doubtful about their efficacy due to the emergence of new virus strains and their further mutations. All this has necessitated stricter lockdowns in many previously hit countries including Greece and Germany. Bangladesh doesn't have reasons to be elated at the fast decline in the number of its fatalities. The Covid-19 deaths worldwide have already crossed 2,400,000 and the number is going up. Moreover, pandemic researchers have warned of the annual outbreaks of Covid-19, like seasonal flu, in the next few years. It might require people to get vaccinated every year. Bangladesh may not be out of the list.

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