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17 January, 2021 06:36:57 PM
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Covid-19 vaccine: Expectation is balanced distribution

Bangladesh's expertise in implementing the immunization programme has been praised and tested worldwide. Covid-19 vaccination is a mammoth programme and for this gigantic programme, integrity, fairness, transparency and settled coordination are imperative.
Majhar Mannan
Covid-19 vaccine: Expectation is balanced distribution

Covid-19 vaccine is almost imminent in the country and preparations are underway to vaccinate against the disease. Millions of people in the country are eagerly waiting for Covid-19 vaccine and they except the balanced distribution of the vaccine. The health department wants to vaccinate the people of the country from the beginning of February and training work is in full swing. The vaccine registration card has been finalized and final preparations for the campaign are underway. Bringing vaccine consignments into the country, preserving and distributing them, are undoubtedly a challenging task. Training is being given on vaccination centre management, vaccine waste management and what to do in case of side effects after vaccination.
It is not possible to vaccinate such a huge population of the country at once. Therefore, the department of health has made a classification of who will receive the vaccine on priority basis. The department of health has come up with a master plan to vaccinate 50 lakh people every month and 1.5 crore people in 6 months. Already the work of creating an app for the registration of Covid-19 vaccine recipients is almost finalized. Bangladesh is buying 3 crore vaccines from Serum Institute of India. According to the newspaper report, Bangladesh has to spend 4 US dollars to buy every dosage vaccine from Serum institute which is about 340 taka. It is expected that the vaccine would arrive from India between January 21 to 25 and online registration will start on January 26. Beximco pharmaceuticals will bring the vaccine from India and they will spread it in different districts. A total of three crore vaccines will be brought in six months and it will be applied to the body of one and a half crore people. 100-150 people a day will be vaccinated from each centre.
The issue of vaccine storage, transportation and safety at vaccination centres is very challenging. Various forces will ensure the safety of the vaccine. Bangladesh has also agreed in principle to take Pfizer vaccine from COVAX. The government plans to vaccinate 80 percent of the people in phases. In the first month, the government plans to vaccinate doctors, health workers, heroic freedom fighters and people over the age of 80. Experts are already giving various suggestions so that there is no confusion about distribution of vaccines. Experts say, there will be no problem if the vaccine is maintained with transparency. Public health experts say, vaccine must be applied maintaining transparency based on scientific reasoning and no one can complain that discrimination is being created in vaccination. If there is weakness in the management of vaccine distribution, it can cause public dissatisfaction. Again, there needs to be a survey on whether everyone wants to be vaccinated. Potential errors can be easily identified by practicing vaccination in one or two areas before vaccinating nationally. Since not all people can be vaccinated at the same time in the beginning, the selected people must be vaccinated in a fair manner. Vaccine distribution process must be fair and acceptable to the public. If the vaccine distribution is not fair then there may be trouble during the second dosage of vaccination. Neighbouring country India has done a practice before vaccinating and Bangladesh should follow the same way.
There are various questions among people about vaccination, so it is necessary to have a clear idea in this case. The government needs to be vigilant so that no one can spread rumours or lies about the vaccine. It is known through the newspapers that the vaccine will be available at the private level and Beximco pharmaceuticals wants to sell the vaccine in the market from next month. Again, if the government approves, the Pfizer vaccine will be available at the private level. According to newspaper report, Covid-19 vaccine is being bought in Bangladesh at 47 percent higher price than India. The finance minister says, if the price of the vaccine is higher, it can be collected from the alternative market. He also says, distributing vaccines is more complicated than importing vaccines.
Coordination is the most difficult and challenging task in vaccination. The government of Bangladesh has formed a coordinating committee of skilled people at all levels to assist and coordinate the implementation and monitoring of the immunization programme plan. In this case the coordination work has to be done fairly and cautiously, because if there is a lack of coordination everything will fall apart. Bangladesh's expertise in implementing the immunization programme has been praised and tested worldwide. Covid-19 vaccination is a mammoth programme and for this gigantic programme, integrity, fairness, transparency and settled coordination are imperative. Everyone wants to have confidence in this vaccination programme and the government needs to make sure that this programme does not indulge in any kind of corruption or black marketing.  Even in countries where vaccines have already been supplied, there are also various problems in the vaccine distribution system. In western countries, including Britain, the aged people have been given the highest priority in vaccination. In the first phase, all people over the age 85 are being vaccinated in those countries. There is no separate priority for any professionals except health workers. There is also talk of how successful the list of priorities for Bangladesh will be. Priority should be given to the most elderly and critically ill patients, including health workers. Other professionals can then be considered. It seems that people at risk should be given priority than healthy people unless there is effective treatment and adequate vaccination. The time has been extended to two months in the case of second dosage of vaccine. Extra care should be taken to preserve the vaccine. Tests have not yet been performed to determine whether the effectiveness of the vaccine will sustain or weak if the second dosage is delayed.


The writer is Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College Kurmitola, Dhaka Cantonment.

 

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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