Bangladesh to vaccinate 50pc people by December: Maleque

Health minister Zahid MalequeFile photo

Health and family welfare minister Zahid Maleque on Wednesday said the country has a target to vaccinate 50 per cent people by December this year as the government intensified its efforts to collect required quantity of COVID-19 jabs.

"We hoped that we will collect 160 million doses of coronavirus vaccines by January next year... meaning we will be able to inoculate 50 per cent of people by December," he told a discussion in a city hotel, an official release said.

Senior secretary of health service division Lokman Hossain Mian, senior officials of relevant organisations and leaders of different platforms, among others, were present at the discussion with director general of Directorate General of Health Service (DGHS) professor Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam in the chair.

The health minister said under the farsighted leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has been successful for collecting required quantity of vaccines. "Success of Bangladesh to control coronavirus has been lauded globally," he added.

"A total of 120 students aged between 12 and 17 received Pfizer jabs...if we get positive report from the vaccinated students, we will launch a large scale programme for students in Dhaka city," he added.

Both infection and fatality rate have started decreasing sharply since late August as the government expanded vaccination programme up to grassroots, the health minister said.

The health ministry sources said Bangladesh set a target to vaccinate the country's 80 per cent population by 2022 under an accelerated inoculation campaign, expecting receipt of required COVID-19 jabs within estimated timeline.

Till to date, Bangladesh has collected nearly 70 million doses of vaccines, it added.

As of October 19, 3,91,68,948 people received first dose of COVID-19 vaccine while 1,96,32,107 got second shot of the jab as the countrywide vaccination campaign was launched on 7 February.

Bangladesh has so far approved eight COVID-19 vaccines to control the deadly disease.

The approved COVID-19 vaccines are from Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, CoronaVac, Pfizer, Covishield, Sputnik V, AstraZeneca and Sinopharm.