Covid shots given at home in Chattogram
While people all over the country have been waiting in line for hours to get Covid-19 jabs during the mass vaccination campaign, which began three days ago, many in the port city have been found getting the facilities illegally at their homes.
The issue came to the fore when one Md Hasan, 31, on Sunday posted a photo on his Facebook profile in which he was receiving a shot in a house instead of a healthcare facility, on his Facebook profile on Sunday.
After many such photos were seen, the administration began an investigation.
According to law enforcers, Hasan took the vaccine at a house on Zakir Hossain Bylane under Khulshi Police Station in the city.
Hasan and his friend Mobarak Ali, 31, were arrested yesterday, said Abu Bakar Siddique, additional deputy commissioner (north zone) of Chattogram Metropolitan Police, adding that Mobarak works at a private bank while Hasan is a businessman.
"The vaccine was taken in Mobarak's house, who is a friend of Hasan's," he said, adding, "During primary interrogation, Mobarak said he also managed a vaccine at home for his ownmother.
"During primary interrogation, we came to know about two other people who are involved -- Sajjad and Bishu Dey… We are investigating further and trying to arrest whoever is involved in such activities."
Sajjad was given the vaccine by Mobarak. Meanwhile, Bishu supplied the shots to Mobarak.
"We are trying to know the identity of Bishu," he said, adding, that the filing of a case was underway with Khulshi Police Station.
Sources in the Chattogram City Corporation said such wrongdoings began when the vaccines were given under the supervision of local CCC ward councillors as part of mass vaccination campaign on Saturday.
They said many influential people got vaccinated at home after making arrangements with the councillors.
Sources in the port city's Pahartoli area said many ruling party men were given vaccines at their homes on Saturday.
Wasim Uddin Chowdhury, CCC ward-13 (Pahartoli) councillor o(Pahartoli), refuted the allegation.
"Only one person, who was a paralysed patient, was vaccinated at his residence," he said, adding, "He was registered for the mass vaccination."
Asked if the government gave any instructions about vaccinating at home, he said it was done on humanitarian grounds.
"The man could not come to the centre due to his physical condition and he requested to get vaccinated at home. So, we did it to uphold humanitarian values and the spirit of the mass vaccination."
Contacted, CCC Mayor Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said vaccination programme was going on not only in city areas but also outside the city and so whether vaccines are taken from centres and being given at home illegally must be investigated.
"It is also not confirmed whether the vaccines administered at home are even real. Dishonest people try to make a quick buck by deceiving people… Law enforcers should investigate and bring the culprits to book."
Meanwhile, health experts said it is risky to get vaccinated by unskilled people.
"The medical staffers who are involved in the vaccination programme are given special training," said public health expert Prof Dr Shakeel Ahmed.
"There has been no instructions from the government about vaccinating people at their home. It will be illegal if anyone does so. And it will be risky if unskilled people handle vaccines."
"There is another issue of maintaining the cold chain of vaccine," said Shakeel, also head of Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases Laboratory, adding, "If the cold chain of vaccine is not maintained, the vaccine would become ineffective."
Meanwhile, many people expressed their anger at such incidents.
Sheikh Md Ledu, a resident of Rahattarpool area, said "We do not get vaccines even after standing in line for hours at centres, while many are seen getting it in the luxury of their homes."
Contacted, Dr Sheikh Fazle Rabbi, civil surgeon of Chattogram, said there was no instructions from the government to vaccinate people at home and that the chief health officer of CCC and the distirct administration would be able to give more information on the incidents.
Dr Selim Akter Chowdhury, CCC chief health office,r and Mominur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Chattogram, did not receive calls despite repeated attempts.
Dr Hasan Shahriar Kabir, director (Chattogram division) of Directorate General of Health Services, also could not be contacted.