Bangladesh can now take pride in its ability to start in full swing a two-dose Covid-19 vaccination drive. With the first shots given to registered candidates on February 07, the 1060 vaccination centres across the country are witnessing people in queues to get inoculated. Many people throng commercial outlets to get registered online. Before the second dose begins in the first week of April, already over 2.85 million people have taken the 1st dose vaccine. The overall situation is one that speaks of a relaxed yet enthusiastic mood, visibly replacing the previous ambience of edginess. At the large vaccination centres in eight divisional headquarters including Dhaka, volunteers are found helping vaccination-seekers in all possible ways. The front-desk health workers receive the necessary papers to forward them to the paramedics giving the shots. For the post-vaccine 20-minute compulsory observation period, there are enough spaces complete with sitting arrangements. The atmosphere is relaxed, and devoid of anxieties.
Coming to the overall mass vaccination facilities, the capital Dhaka deserves to be at the top. A total of 50 hospitals in different areas of the metropolis have been chosen by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) for Covid-19 vaccination. Proving the worries of segments of people about the delay in the start of the vaccination drive premature, the government has finally swung into the action of countrywide vaccination. It deserves plaudits. The carefully planned and slow-paced nature of the government's step proves to be pragmatic amid the murmurs of disapproval by a few quarters. Moreover, the case for Bangladesh is different from that prevailing in many other countries.
The easy handling of the vaccination campaign has largely been possible in Bangladesh thanks to the sharp fall in the pandemic intensity. Compared with many other territories, the country has witnessed a moderate onslaught of the pandemic --- in both cases and deaths. According to official reports, the total deaths from Covid-19 now stand at a point of relief since March last year. However, new cases are being found at varying degrees. On the other hand, the steadily improving recovery has also to be taken into account. On a relieving note, the total Covid-19 cases in the country at one point had reached 544,544 but out of them 493,798 have recovered from the disease.
All these developments may prompt the optimists to take heart. But they do not preclude the necessity of speeding up the vaccination drives without pause. Many developed and developing countries have yet to completely come out of the pandemic-prompted 'state of siege' -- lockdowns in official parlance. Given the dreadful and deadly nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly a dozen medically developed countries joined the race to invent foolproof and effective vaccines. At least five globally reputed pharmaceutical entities and related bodies have reportedly been able to arrive on to the verge of taking their finished antidotes to the people. Bangladesh has received the Covishield vaccine developed by the Oxford-AstraZeneca coalition and produced by the Serum Institute of India. That the people of Bangladesh have accepted the vaccine without reservations bodes well for the nation vis-à-vis its trust in the jab. There have, however, been a few incidents of adverse vaccine reactions, medically termed Adverse Event Following Immunisation. The authorities concerned ought to remain alert to any possible distorted publicity of the temporary vaccination side-effects by vested interests. That people have started coming forward voluntarily to get vaccinated is great news. It cannot be allowed to go awry.