Bangladesh now plans to inoculate 70% of its population with the Covid-19 vaccine – up from 80% originally planned – in line with the World Health Organization’s target.
In October, the WHO set a target for countries to vaccinate 70% of their population by mid-2022, and according to projections made by Our World in Data, around 100 countries are off track. to reach this goal.
As of January 18, 48.38% of the new target has been met, according to data from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
The original target of inoculating 80% of the population is not achievable, Shamsul Haque, member secretary of the Covid-19 Vaccine Management Task Force, told the Daily Star yesterday.
Also, the WHO standard for achieving herd immunity is to inoculate 70% of the population.
“We have therefore revised our target downwards,” added Haque.
So far, the government has used Covid-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinovac and Johnson and Johnson.
The authority did not clarify the reason for the revised target, said Abu Zamil Faisel, a member of the DGHS’ epidemiology and public health advisory committee.
“Most likely it’s because of the slow pace of vaccination, and also uncertainty over the vaccine supply chain,” he added.
The government has about nine crore doses in its stockpile, according to Health Minister Zahid Maleque.
To reach the revised target, 12 million doses of vaccine are needed. In addition, another 2.3 crore injections are to be allocated to vaccinate 1.15 crore schoolchildren aged 12 to 17 years.
DGHS Director General ABM Khurshid Alam, however, says the original target was just a parallax error.
“About 1.25 to 1.5 crore of our population live outside the country – we had counted them initially.”
Non-resident Bangladeshis are now excluded.
In addition, children between the ages of 12 and 17 now receive vaccines. The original plan was to vaccinate people aged 18 and over.
“Considering this, 80-85% of the total population will receive vaccines,” Alam told the Daily Star yesterday.
The population of Bangladesh is about 16.80 crores in population, according to the latest population census.
The vaccination campaign started on a pilot basis on January 27 last year and on a full-fledged basis from February 7.
However, amid a rapidly depleting vaccine stock, Bangladesh suspended administration of the first vaccine dose on April 26. And nine days later, he suspended registrations for vaccination.
Later on June 19, the government resumed administration of the first dose on a limited scale with 11 lakh doses of the Sinopharm vaccine sent as gifts by the Chinese government.