Covid Vaccination: Frontliners’ loved ones above 18 to get shots
From now on, Covid-19 frontline health workers' family members -- aged 18 and above -- will get vaccines, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said yesterday.
"We have received permission from the prime minister in this regard," he said while addressing a virtual discussion organised by Bangladesh Private Medical College Association.
The minister said, "We had decided to vaccinate frontline doctors, nurses, other healthcare staffers and teachers. Their family members, who are aged 18 and above, will also get vaccines from now on," he said.
"We have already received an adequate number of vaccine jabs and another 30 lakh doses of Sinopharm vaccine will arrive either on July 26 or 27."
Maleque said 21 crore doses of vaccine have already been arranged or have been assured by different sources. "Of those, three crore doses are from China, three crore more from Serum Institute of India, seven crore from Covax, one crore from Russia and seven crore doses from Johnson & Johnson. If these are available in time, Bangladesh will be able to vaccinate 80 percent of its population, he said.
The minister also said 26 cold freezers were being brought through the World Health Organization (WHO) for vaccines that need to be stored at minus 70 or minus 80 degrees Celsius.
Besides, the government has directed the authorities to prioritise the elderly people in rural areas in the vaccination drives and to bring teachers, students and their family members above 18 years under the campaign, he said.
"The elderly are at risk of death, they have to be vaccinated first," the minister said, adding that around 75 percent of the Covid patients in public hospitals are from rural areas and 90 percent of all patients are non-vaccinated. It means they needed hospitalisation because they did not take vaccines.
"If we can vaccinate elderly people in rural areas quickly, the number of patients and deaths will decrease," he added.
He also said the rural people who cannot register online using the "Surokkha" website would get vaccines by showing their National Identity cards and that they would be able to register for the inoculation after taking the shots.
About the latest spike in Covid-19 transmission, the minister said, "The infection rate has definitely increased as a result of people going to the cattle markets and shops for Eid. We will see that [result] in the future."
DAILY OXYGEN DEMAND 270 TONNES
At the same event, the minister said the daily demand for medical oxygen has risen to 270 tonnes from the usual demand of 60 to 70 tonnes.
He said 40 oxygen generators would be installed in 40 hospitals across the country by next month. "So we will not have any oxygen shortage."
Explaining the latest oxygen supply chain, Director General of the health directorate Prof Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam said there would be enough supply of oxygen from India to meet the rising demand.
"From now on, 400 tonnes of oxygen can be imported from India twice a week. As such, 1,600 tonnes of oxygen will be imported each month. Then there will be no more oxygen crisis," Khurshid said.