by Staff Correspondent in Dhaka;
The government has decided to extend further its mass inoculation campaign against novel coronavirus up to the grassroots allowing residents to receive the jab at the local government tire of Union Parishad headquarters from next month.
Any citizens willing to get the vaccine will have to carry their national identity card to the center from August 7, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said on Tuesday after a meeting that he presided to iron out the measures for tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.
The meeting also decided not to relax the current spell of restrictions that the government imposed for two weeks until August 5 to slow the spread of the virus that claimed nearly 20,000 lives since the pandemic began in March last year.
The government has reported more than 1.17 million cases so far.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque who also attended the meeting said the residents above 50 years of old are accounted for most of the patients undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at the hospitals. This age group will be given priority since they are at the high risk of infection.
The government in February rolled out the mass vaccination against the Covid-19 with Oxford-AstraZeneca developed doses from Serum Institute of India concentrating mostly the urban areas. The campaign was suspended abruptly after India slapped ban on vaccine export over supply crunch in April.
The mass inoculation, however, resumed earlier this month after Bangladesh received doses from China and the United States.
The Home Minister said the Prime Minister has instructed boosting of the mass vaccination campaign up to the grassroots. Those who will go along with the NID will get the jab, he told reporters.
Those who has no national identity card will also be given the vaccine under special arrangement, said cabinet secretary Khandaker Anwarul Islam.
Bangladesh has been trying to collect vaccine doses from different sources after India failed to supply majority portion of 30 million doses as per an agreement that was signed in November last year.
The country now has 5.1 million Sinopharm doses received from China, 5.5 million Moderna doses from the United States and 100,620 Pfizer doses in hand.
The country is expected to get 60 million does from the Covax initiative to carry on the mass vaccination at the end of the year.
The Health Minister said Bangladesh is expected to receive 210 million doses of vaccine by next year.