2 years ago

Low turnout for Covid booster shot

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The government’s drive to administer 7.5 million Covid vaccine boosters and second doses in a day has drawn few people to the hospitals.

Booster doses were administered at all government medical college hospitals, specialised hospitals, district hospitals and Upazila health complexes and vaccination centres in city corporation and municipal areas on Tuesday.

The Directorate General of Health Services said it will stretch the time limit of the campaign if the target was not fulfilled on Tuesday as few citizens showed up for their shots of vaccine booster.

The crowd was quite thin outside the booth at Kurmitola General Hospital. Salah Uddin, a health worker at the hospital, said 960 doses were administered until 11 am.

“People seeking vaccines usually throng this place. It is the same today, but we are not under as much pressure as we had been in the campaigns before,” he said.

Md Mamun Hossain, a buying house employee, said he received his second dose in September last year.

“Actually I wasn’t keen on the booster dose after getting the first two doses, so I haven’t taken it until now. I came today for the campaign,” he said.

Shihab Uddin, who arrived from Kuril Biswa Road for his third shot, had received his SMS for the booster dose in March.

“But the SMS got deleted from my mobile phone. I wasn’t keen about it either. So I hadn’t taken the dose until today.”

Only 240 doses were administered until 12 pm at Mohakhali’s National Institute of Diseases of the Chest and Hospital (NIDCH).

Md Shafiqul Islam received his second dose in February and was supposed to get his booster shot on Jun 8.

“I was too busy. Besides, the panic has died down now. I arrived today as I was free,” he said.

Senior Staff Nurse of the centre, Ripa Islam, said: “I think people lost interest in the booster dose. We used to administer at least 1,000-1,200 doses during the mass vaccination drive.”

“One other reason may be that people are still outside Dhaka after the Eid holidays.”

Tania Akter, a health worker at Sheikh Russel Gastroliver Institute & Hospital, said they administered 510 doses until 1 pm.

On his visit to Dhaka Medical College Hospital to observe the vaccination programme, DGHS Director General ABM Khurshid Alam said people were “less interested” in vaccine boosters. So only 17 per cent of people were given the shots thus far.

“We organised the campaign to administer more booster doses to people to combat any upcoming wave of the coronavirus. The second dose is also being administered. If we can’t inoculate 7.5 million people in a day, the drive will last a day or two more.”

Until Jul 19, more than 128.43 million people received at least one dose of the vaccine while over 119.78 million got their second shots. More than 35.04 million people were given booster doses.

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