The government has reduced the minimum age for taking Covid-19 vaccine to 25 years in a bid to vaccinate more young people against the coronavirus pandemic.
From Thursday, Bangladeshi citizens aged 25 years and above were able to register for the jab through the government’s ‘surokkha.gov.bd’ website.
The government started the nationwide vaccination in February with the minimum age of 40 years. Later it was cut to 35 years and 30 years.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque earlier announced that they would bring all above 18 years under the vaccine coverage gradually.
Besides, to bring more people under the vaccination programme, the government also decided to launch a campaign from August 7.
During the campaign, people will be able to walk-in with the NID card in the vaccine point close to their areas and take the jab.
The health ministry’s EPI that oversees that vaccination programme will set up the inoculation points in different areas in the city and villages.
“We will campaign across the country. We will go to the ward level in unions and towns. Our target is to go to the grassroots,” Dr. Mowla Baksh Chaudhury, EPI Programme Manager, told Bangladesh Post.
Bangladesh started the nationwide vaccination against the pandemic coronavirus with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine bought from the Serum Institute of India. By now, the government got vaccines from other sources such as Sinopharm, Moderna and Pfizer.
The Health Minister told journalists that they have secured a pledge of getting 210 million doses of vaccine by next year.
Of them, 30 million would come from China, 30 million from Oxford/ AstraZeneca, 70 million under the COVAX facility, 10 million from Russia and 70 million from Johnson and Johnson.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine would come by the second quarter of the next year, he had said, adding that the target is to vaccinate 80 percent of the population by 2022.
One has to register through the 'surokkha' app of the government and wait for the dates to be vaccinated at a designated place.
With the walk-in service, this delay will be gone.
“It’ll be a great service if introduced,” said one Habibur Rahman who took two doses of Astrazeneca vaccine by registering through the app.
“I had to wait for more than a week to get a message on my mobile for the vaccine date. It's even difficult for many people to register through an app. With this walk-in service, now anyone can take the vaccine. People will be encouraged,” he told Bangladesh Post.
Dr. Mowla, the EPI programme manager, said they would keep the NID details when a person would turn up to the vaccination point and later update in the app.
“The app will remain as usual. In this walk-in service, our staff will update the app with the vaccinator’s details,” he said, adding that the campaign would continue as long as they have vaccines.
“We have adequate vaccines in hand now to launch the campaign,” he said as the government managed 10 million vaccines in recent weeks with 10 million more expected to be managed by August.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also instructed the authorities concerned to launch mass vaccination to ensure protection of all against the Covid-19.
“We have started purchasing vaccines. Inoculation has already started. We have to ensure massive vaccination so that all the people of our country are protected (from coronavirus). We have already given instruction to this end,” she said on Tuesday, adding that over 18.7 million people have so far been brought under the vaccination.
The government has also planned to open universities after vaccinating all teachers, students and staff as soon as possible.