The first consignment of 50 lakh doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine purchased by Bangladesh from the Serum Institute of India Pvt Limited will arrive on Monday, health minister Zahid Maleque said Sunday.
‘India has already provided us 2 million doses. Five million doses will come as per our contract. The rest of the 25 million doses will come in phases,’ he told the media at the Secretariat.
Maleque said the government is working to preserve the vaccine, adding: ‘We’ve decided where to keep the vaccines when the rest of the doses come.’
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the vaccination drive on January 27 at Kurmitola Hospital. A nurse will receive the first jab there.
‘We’ve a national committee which will decide how the vaccination campaign will be carried out. They’ve finished preparations,’ he said.
The government has a list of everyone who will be vaccinated, he said, adding that permission has been given for antibody tests.
There are apprehensions among the people about the possible side effects of the vaccine.
Maleque said many people are talking about side effects. Many medicines have side effects and we can’t guarantee that there won’t be any in this case.
‘The usual side effect is slight dizziness,’ he said. ‘We’ve arranged instant treatment at hospitals in such cases.’
When asked how the government will assure the people to receive the jab, he said the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine’s side effect is less than that of other vaccines.
‘Hundreds of thousands of doses have been used in India and UK. So, there’s no need for trial,’ the minister said.
Maleque said the government will not force anyone to receive the vaccine.
‘We’ll provide vaccines to those who’ll seek it voluntarily. The nurses who’ll be vaccinated at Kurmitola are coming forward on their own,’ the minister said.
People working on the front line will be vaccinated first as per the WHO guideline. Journalists will get the vaccine in due time as they work with risk.
He had earlier said that the elderly people will get priority in this regard as the death percentage of them was high in the country. People below the age of 18 will not get the vaccine.
Zafrullah Chowdhury, the founder of Gonoshasthaya Kendra, had recently suggested the prime minister receive the jab to build confidence among the people.
Maleque said the government would vaccinate the front liners first.
Earlier on Thursday, India provided 2 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as ‘gift’ to Bangladesh.
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