Health workers across the country will not be allowed to leave their work stations or take leave before 10 February as the authorities prepare to roll out the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Field-level health workers were ready to start the programme, said Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of the Health Directorate, after an online meeting with district civil surgeons, upazila health officers and directors of medical colleges on Monday morning.
Vaccination activities will not run on public holidays, he added.
Over 20,000 people have so far registered for vaccination, and field-level health workers would assist those unable to register online, said Khurshid.
Additional Director General of the Health Directorate Meerjady Sabrina Flora said four lakh vaccine doses had been earmarked for Dhaka district.
Dhaka Civil Surgeon Abu Hussain Md Moinul Ahsan told The Business Standard that leave for all health workers of Dhaka district had been cancelled as part of the immunisation programme.
He said trainers were now being trained and they would later go to each vaccination centre in the upazilas to train people who would inoculate people.
The Directorate General of Health Services plans to vaccinate 100-150 people daily at each centre and the programme will run at 6,995 centres across the country. As many as 354 centres have been listed in Dhaka city.
Bangladesh will begin its nationwide vaccination programme on 7 February and 50 lakh doses have already been distributed across the country. Officials plan to inoculate 60 lakh people in the first month.
No side effects so far
So far, 567 people have been immunised. Twenty six people received shots on the opening day of the programme on 27 January, while 541 were vaccinated the following day.
Additional Director General of the Health Directorate Nasima Sultana, who received the jab on the opening day, said all those who had been vaccinated against Covid-19 so far were fine.
Journalist Masud Raihan Palash, who also was vaccinated on the opening day, told The Business Standard on Monday he had not experienced any side effects such as fever and pain.
"I resumed work an hour after getting the jab. Everything is fine so far, and I have not faced any problem."
Coronavirus fizzling out: Health minister
Health Minister Zahid Maleque told Parliament on Monday that coronavirus was fizzling out in Bangladesh.
"Our present infection rate is 3%. According to World Health Organisation(WHO) guidelines, coronavirus fizzles out once the infection rate starts falling below 3%. We have reached that phase," he said.
Maleque said Bloomberg had ranked Bangladesh 20th in terms of tackling coronavirus, while the country was ranked first among South Asian nations.
He also said WHO had sent two letters lauding the prime minister.
The pandemic had taken 8,000 lives in the country, the minister said, adding, "We mourn their deaths."
He said 1.6 lakh people had died from the virus in India while death tolls in the US and the UK were 4.5 lakh and over one lakh respectively.