Mass Vaccination: Teachers to get jabs in a week
The government plans to vaccinate all teachers as it aims to reopen educational institutions, which were closed on March 17 last year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
It comes when the mass inoculation against Covid-19 has gained momentum with more than one lakh people taking the first shot yesterday, the third day of the nationwide vaccination campaign.
"We are planning to vaccinate all teachers of all age groups so that the educational institutions can be reopened," Prof ABM Khurshid Alam, the director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told The Daily Star yesterday.
Earlier in the day, State Minister of Primary and Mass Education Md Zakir Hossain said all the teachers of the government primary schools would be administered Covid-19 vaccine within a week, reports UNB.
"Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already asked the health ministry to bring the teachers under the vaccination drive. We'll try our best to complete their vaccination within the next seven working days," he said while talking to reporters after getting vaccinated at the Clinic Building of the Bangladesh Secretariat.
He also urged the ministry staff and the teachers aged 40 and above to get vaccinated, and requested all to wear masks.
On January 30, the prime minister ordered the authorities concerned to ensure that everyone at all educational institutions gets the vaccine as soon as possible.
After everyone concerned gets the vaccine, the government will monitor the Covid-19 situation throughout February and will then decide on reopening the educational institutions across the country, the PM said.
Against this backdrop, the government launched the countrywide Covid-19 vaccine campaign on Sunday following a two-day successful piloting held on January 27 and 28.
Government officials claimed that the fear regarding the vaccination was gone since more and more people were showing interest in taking the jabs.
As many as 1,01,082 people received the first shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday, which took the total number to 1,79,318 in the first three days of the inoculation campaign, according to DGHS.
The number is, however, lower than the government capacity of vaccinating 3.6 lakh people every day at 2,400 vaccination centres across the country.
Talking to The Daily Star, Prof Sayedur Rahman, chairman of the pharmacology department at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), supported the government plan on vaccinating all teachers and said it must be done before the educational institutions were reopened.
"All teachers should be given the jabs. Only then, you should go for the reopening," he said.
In the first three days of the vaccination campaign, 5.12 percent of the first month's target -- 35 lakh doses -- has been given. Initially, the government had planned to administer 60 lakh shots in the first month, but the number was revised apparently due to a lukewarm response to the online registration.
Over the last 14 days, around seven lakh people have registered for the vaccine visiting the government website www.surokkha.gov.bd.
Around 2.3 lakh people did the registration yesterday till 9:10pm, according to the DGHS.
The government had also planned to administer each vaccine recipient the second dose two months after the first one, but it later narrowed down the gap to one month.
The government had a stock of 70 lakh doses of three different batches. Shots from two of the batches will expire in April while those of the other in June this year.
Since January 20, the Covid-19 transmission in the country has apparently slowed down. The daily percentage of positive cases against samples tested has continued to be below five since that day.
The percentage of positive cases is a critical measure because it gives an indication of how widespread the infection is in the area where testing is occurring, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In May, the World Health Organization recommended that the positivity rate should be below five percent for at least two weeks before governments considered any reopening.
Since the first three confirmed cases were reported on March 8 in the country, the transmission of Covid-19 was highest between June and July, shows DGHS data.
The highest daily positivity rate -- 31.91 percent -- was recorded on August 3. It remained stagnant at around 12 percent throughout September and October.
From November, however, the rate started rising again.