The Directorate of Health is going to launch a special drive this month to vaccinate around five crore people aged 18 years and above who have received their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least four months back.
Officials said they have enough vaccines for the campaign.
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This will be similar to the previous special drive, which was conducted in February and March at the union level in rural areas and at the ward level in municipalities.
“date [for the special booster doze campaign] Still to be decided. Dr Abul Bashar Mohd Khurshid Alam, Director General, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told The Daily Star yesterday, “We are waiting for the return of the Health Minister from abroad to finalize it.”
According to a ministry official, the minister is expected to return home tonight on an official visit to the World Bank headquarters in New York.
As of Thursday, around 11.68 million adults – 68.51 per cent of the total population – have received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, not all will be eligible for the booster, health officials said.
As per the DGHS’s COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Protocol, any second dose vaccine recipient can get a booster jab with an interval of at least four months – as recommended by the World Health Organisation.
In that case, the number of eligible booster recipients would be around 46 million, as per DGHS data.
Around 1.35 crore people, who have already received their booster shots as of Thursday, have also been left out.
“We have enough vaccines in our stock to vaccinate all eligible recipients with booster doses,” Dr. Moula Bakhsh Choudhary, Deputy Director and Program Manager, Extended Program on Immunization (EPI) told this newspaper yesterday.
They said they are planning on a micro level to count the number of people eligible for booster shots in each produce.
“With the low transmission rate of COVID-19, we are seeing less rush to get the vaccine. Therefore, we plan to bring more people under booster dose coverage,” Moula said.
On Tuesday, DGHS held a coordination meeting in Dhaka with health officials across the country regarding booster dose administration.
On February 8 last year, the government launched a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign initially for 80 per cent of the population aged 18 years and above. Later the target was reduced to 70 per cent.