The government first announced that persons over 50 would be given the vaccine. This was later lowered to 40 and then now to 35. Health minister Zahid Maleque has said in future everyone over 18 will receive the vaccine. Preciously the government had said that 80 per cent of the population would be brought under vaccine coverage. That would require 260 million (26 crore) doses. Even if 20 million (2 crore) doses arrive by September, it will still be far below requirement.

The government must keep up its efforts to procure vaccines. It is a matter of hope that the Indian high commissioner Vikram Kumar Doraiswami has said that coronavirus transmissions have lessened in India. He will talk to the authorities there about sending the vaccines that have been purchased by Bangladesh. We feel that the Indian government or Serum Institute cannot turn away from the tripartite agreement signed in this regard. We hope that Bangladesh receives the vaccine according to the agreement.

Violating the health rules puts oneself and others into danger, which is totally unwarranted

After procurement, the next question that immediately arises is vaccine management. The first phase of vaccinations went relatively smoothly with only occasional hitches. In the second phase there have been reports of disruptions here and there because of the shortage in stock. Also, people from all walks of life are desperate to get the vaccine. Everyone wants their vaccine first. Once the vaccines arrive, the crisis will lessen. The government has announced that readymade garment (RMG) factory workers and students will be vaccinated on priority basis. From Saturday the drive to vaccinate RMG workers has begun. The students must be given their shots as soon as possible.

Despite vaccine being the main preventive measure against Covid, the health guidelines must not be forgotten. Everyone must wear masks when they leave home. People going home for Eid, going to the cattle market and so on, must be particularly cautious. Violating the health rules puts oneself and others into danger, which is totally unwarranted.

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