Bangladesh has vaccinated 9.06 lakh people in seven days of the nationwide mass COVID-19 vaccination drive.
According to officials, the vaccination programme is progressing at the expected pace but the inoculation rate is low among women.
Women constitute less than one-third of the total vaccinated people in the country, demonstrating their poor healthcare-seeking behaviour.
‘We’re happy with the vaccination rate, but women are lagging far behind,’ said Directorate General of Health Services spokesperson Mizanur Rahman.
Asked about the reasons behind the low turnout of women for the vaccination, he said that traditionally women’s healthcare-seeking behaviour was poor due to their financial dependence on men.
‘Male members of the family should take the female members to the vaccination centre. They need to be encouraged to receive the jab,’ he said.
The health agency launched the mass vaccination campaign on February 7, continuing the immunisation from the morning to the afternoon everyday but Friday, the weekly general holiday.
In the past seven days 9,06,033 people have received the first dose, of whom 6,26,469 are male and 2,79,564 female, according to the DGHS.
On Sunday, 1,69,353 people were vaccinated — 1,12,847 of them male and 56,505 female.
Bangladesh plans to inoculate 35 lakh people in the first month of the vaccination programme.
Mizanur further said that over 17.50 lakh people registered for the vaccination by Sunday 6:00pm.
‘We’re on the right track to achieve the vaccination of 35 lakh people in the first month,’ he said.
Bangladesh requires online registration from the vaccine seekers through the Surokkha website www.surokkha.gov.bd.
Health secretary Abdul Mannan on Saturday hinted that the target could be raised.
The vaccination plan, he said, would be reviewed after the 35 lakh doses have been administered.
‘We’ll evaluate if the vaccination is going on in the rural and urban areas proportionately. If it turns out to be low in rural areas, we’ll put emphasis on these areas,’ he said on Saturday while visiting a vaccination centre in the capital.
Bangladesh began its nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive 336 days after it reported its first three coronavirus cases on March 8, 2020.
The country has so far obtained 70 lakh doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
It would obtain 1,31,000 more doses of the vaccine by the end of February under the World Health Organisation’s COVAX programme.
Besides, the second consignment of another 50 lakh doses of the same vaccine, bought from the Serum Institute of India, is scheduled to reach the country in late February.
Bangladesh has bought three crore doses of the vaccine from the Serum.
The government campaign plans to inoculate 80 per cent of the country’s population against COVID-19.
The vaccination is being held at 1,015 hospitals across the country, including 50 in the capital.
People are vaccinated at the government health facilities in the upazila and district headquarters throughout the country.
The vaccination runs from 8:00am to 2:30pm every day at the immunisation centres.
A team of 204 health workers in Dhaka and 2,196 outside Dhaka are engaged to inoculate people.
A total of 7,344 teams have been formed with health workers and volunteers to carry out a continuous vaccination throughout the country.
Bangladesh has beat the initial fears of the novel coronavirus raging through the nation as 8,200 people have so far died of COVID-19 with 5.40 lakh being infected with the virus.
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