Covid vaccination kicks off today
Bangladesh joins the world today in the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 pandemic with a robust stock of vaccine doses in hand.
Of the south Asian countries, Bangladesh has the highest number of vaccines in hands -- 70 lakh doses -- after India.
Covid-19 has already claimed more than 8,000 lives in the country and over 2.14 million in the world.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the pilot vaccination virtually from Kurmitola General Hospital at 3:30pm.
She is also expected to launch the registration app called "Surokkha" for mass inoculation, scheduled to start on February 7.
The government has targeted vaccinating 60 lakh people in the first month and another 50 lakh the following month. The pilot will start with the vaccination of a nurse of Kurmitola hospital.
According to government officials, 20-30 people will get vaccinated on the opening day. The first recipients will include nurses, doctors, freedom fighters, media personnel and other frontline workers from different professional groups.
The pilot vaccination will take place in five public hospitals of Dhaka. The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has already completed all the procedures to that end.
"From tomorrow [today] vaccination [pilot] will start in Dhaka and then it will be expanded across the country. By that time, all preparations for smooth vaccination will be completed," Prof Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, director general of DGHS, told The Daily Star yesterday.
He also said they have prepared a list of 20 to 30 people to
inoculate on the opening day.
"Each vial has 10 doses. So, once we open a vial, we have to administer all 10 doses. Accordingly, the number of recipients should be either 20 or 30," Khurshid Alam said.
He also said, except India, none of the South Asian countries has more vaccines than Bangladesh right now.
Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) has given the usage permission of 50 lakh purchased vaccines, which arrived in Dhaka on
Monday, after examining the samples from each batch.
Major General Md Mahbubur Rahman, director general of the DGDA, told journalists that the piloting of the vaccine will start with the government purchased vaccines.
Bangladesh purchased 3 crore doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from Serum Institute of India (SII). The first consignment of 50 lakh arrived on January 25. Bangladesh also received 20 lakh doses of the Oxford vaccine produced in SII as gift from the Indian government on January 21.
MANAGING SIDE EFFECTS
Healthcare officials said the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and has minimal side effects.
Prof Khurshid Alam, in a recent press conference, said, "The data we have on the Oxford vaccine suggest the side effects are minimal. If any vaccine recipient faces severe allergic shock, we have arrangements to treat them. For this, we have set up vaccination centres only in hospitals."
The DGHS has published advertisements on the media which said the vaccine is safe. But some vaccine recipients may face a few physical complexities, such as pain or swelling on the arm where the shot is given, mild fever, nausea, body pain and headaches.
These side effects may sustain one or two days, according to the DGHS.
Health officials also said side effects may arise if the purity of the vaccine is damaged due to improper storage. Faulty syringes and needles may cause side effects.
The vaccination guideline for healthcare workers said that in some cases side effects like eye and face swelling, mild breathing issues, low blood pressure, nausea or unconsciousness might occur after vaccination.
In such instances, healthcare workers have been advised about what medical intervention has to be taken.
According to the vaccination plan, all recipients have to stay at the vaccination centre for 15-30 minutes after the vaccination. There will be arrangement for this in the hospital.
A medical team will also be present to tackle such adverse event in every vaccination centre. All civil surgeons, deputy civil surgeons and other district level trainers have been trained in this regard recently in Dhaka.
During the next few days, the local vaccination team will also do follow ups and keep updates of the recipients.
Officials said training for other teams in upazila health complexes and hospitals in city corporation areas will also be completed within the next few days.
On Monday, some 124 doctors and nurses from five hospitals in Dhaka city, where the first-run of the vaccine will start the day after the PM's inauguration, received training.
During a visit to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Mugda Medical College Hospital and the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, officials said they have formed multiple medical teams and arranged hospitals beds to tackle any adverse situation.