The Directorate General of Health Services has announced a seven-day special drive to administer the second and booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine across the country. The programme will start on Dec 1 and continue until Dec 7.
The DGHS plans to administer nearly 9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at 15,984 centres across the country during the drive.
The DGHS took the initiative to celebrate the month of Bangladesh’s victory in the Liberation War, said Dr Shamsul Haque, member secretary of the national COVID-19 vaccination programme. The purpose of the drive is to administer doses of the shot to the population that has missed out so far.
“The doses will be administered to those waiting for their second or booster doses through the campaign, which kicks off in the month we achieved our independence,” he said. “Nearly 50 per cent of people are still waiting for booster doses. We are conducting this programme so they can receive their shots.”
“The programme will be underway at all ward unions, upazilas, municipalities, city corporations, medical colleges and district hospitals,” Dr Shamsul said. “The seven-day campaign will take place over six working days. The days have been split into two – we will conduct publicity campaigns on one day and then administer vaccines on the other. So, in total, there will be three days of campaigns and three days of vaccination.”
Asked whether a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine would be administered, Dr Shamsul said they had asked for the opinion of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group on the matter and they recommended that the fourth dose can be administered.
“They say we can give out the fourth dose. We will soon set plans for how and when we will distribute them. But, at this point, I can say that we will give out the fourth dose and it will be through a national plan.”
The WHO recommends that 70 per cent of the population be vaccinated, he said. About 73 per cent of Bangladeshis have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Ninety-five per cent of people above the age of 5 have received the first dose, 80 per cent have received the second dose and 52 per cent have received the third dose.
Bangladesh has received 343.4 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine so far and administered 332.7 million.
“Nine mass vaccination drives have been conducted, which distributed 130 million doses. Each campaign has, on average, run for 3 days. That means we have administered that many in about 27 days.”
Bangladesh began administering the coronavirus shots in February 2021.
As of Tuesday, over 148.3 million first doses had been given, as had 125.2 million second doses and 59.1 million booster doses.