The first consignment of Covishield vaccine from India arrived in Bangladesh on Thursday. India gifted Bangladesh 20 lakh doses of the Oxford University and AstraZeneca developed vaccine, and we would like to thank the Indian government for such display of graciousness. The next shipment of doses bought by Bangladesh is scheduled to arrive on January 25 and will contain 50 lakh doses.
According to the health authorities, at first 400 to 500 people will be given the shots at different hospitals during an initial observation phase. The recipients of the vaccines will be observed for seven days before the government fully rolls out its vaccination campaign. Once the countrywide inoculation begins, a total of 60 lakh people will be vaccinated in the first month and 50 lakh more in the second month. In the third month, the 60 lakh people who received the first shot in the first month would get their second shot. We hope all of this will go smoothly.
However, we must remind the government of the importance of strict monitoring and proper management when it comes to preserving and distributing the vaccines. Those who most require it, such as frontline health workers and the elderly, should receive it first and there must not be any two ways about it. The government must ensure that there is no pilferage and that no vaccines end up in the black market but that every citizen that needs the vaccine gets it through the government system.
There is also the question of safety when it comes to vaccines that have been developed so quickly in the face of a deadly pandemic. The government must monitor those who receive the vaccine particularly in the initial phase, and ensure that there is a support system for them in case of any allergic or other reaction. As we have mentioned in this column previously, the government's vaccination programme is a massive one which naturally involves complex and large-scale logistical matters. In order for it to be a success, the government must remain vigilant at all times and pre-plan every step of the way.