Mass inoculation still the national priority, health expert tells FE webinar

FE ONLINE REPORT | Thursday, 27 January 2022

Bangladesh needs to focus on vaccinating almost all people, apart from maintaining health protocols in order to contain the spread of highly transmissible coronavirus variant Omicron, a public health expert said on Thursday.

He insisted that the authorities concerned should concentrate further on the micromanagement of vaccination drive all over the country to ensure herd immunity as early as possible.

“Special campaign can be carried out in the country to encourage people to get vaccinated,” Professor Shah Monir Hossain, a former director-general of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told The Financial Express dialogue on “Anticipated New Wave of Coronavirus: Is Bangladesh Prepared Enough?” held virtually.

Although the rate of hospitalisation due to Covid-19 infection is not high recently, the expert-recommended cautionary measures and public restraint until the pandemic is over.

He hoped that subject to the availability of vaccines, the government would be able to inoculate at least 70 per cent of the population by next December to reach herd immunity.

University Grants Commission Member Professor Md Sazzad Hossain, and Chittagong Stock Exchange Chairman Asif Ibrahim also spoke as panellists at the event chaired by Professor of Department of Economics at the University of Dhaka Dr Rumana Huque.

Executive Editor of the The Financial Express Shamsul Huq Zahid gave the welcome speech at the programme, the Episode 7 of the dialogue.

Dwelling on the fact that no vaccine guarantees 100 per cent protection against a disease, the former DGHS DG said, “The vaccine to fight Covid-19 was developed within a short period of time while there have been studies that indicate efficacy of vaccines of different brands up to 70 to 90 per cent.”

However, he noted that there is a shortage of skilled human resources at the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs as around 50 per cent of the positions are yet to be filled.

Mr Monir suggested the government to carry out a ward-based vaccination drive across the country.

He also emphasised avoiding public gathering, halting social programmes, and tourism for a certain period time to contain the spread of the virus.

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