The government now needs 3.16 crore Covid jabs to clear out the piled up online registrations for the first shot, plus to administer the second dose to people who already have had the first one.
But Bangladesh now has only 84.06 lakh doses as Health Minister Zahid Maleque Monday said the country is unlikely to go for any mass immunisation drive in upcoming months. He said the on-spot vaccine registration will not be available too.
Around 1.66 crore citizens are on the second shot waiting list, while 1.5 crore people after online registration are yet to get the first shot.
The regular vaccination will only continue with prior online registration.
Currently, Bangladesh is conducting the regular vaccination with Chinese shots received under a bulk-buy deal. Besides, the country is also using shots received under the Covax facility – a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.
Zahid Maleque said 60 lakh Pfizer shots are to arrive in Dhaka by September.
"Some of those [Pfizer shots] will arrive in August, and the rest in September. Besides, the country will get 10 lakh more Chinese shots at the end of this month," he added.
Apart from 7.5 crore shots from China under the bulk-buy, the health minister said Bangladesh placed its orders for 3 crore Sinopharm and 7.5 crore Sinovac shots to the World Health Organization (WHO) at "reasonable rates".
"If we get the supplies in time against the bulk-buy orders and vaccine donation commitments, the vaccination programme will face no issue," he claimed, hoping to bring 7-8 crore citizens under the vaccination coverage by January-February next year.
Both Covid-19 infections and deaths have been declining in the country for the past one week. The faster inoculation of more people this time will lead to a further fall in the number of deaths. Thus, the situation will see much improvement in the future.
Professor Nazrul Islam, noted virologist and member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, told TBS more vaccination means more protection against the deadly virus. If adults stay safe, educational institutions can reopen.
"If a large number of people now come under vaccination, it will bring relief for us in November-December, he added.
Professor Sayedur Rahman, chairman, Department of Pharmacology, said, "If people do not wear masks after taking vaccine jabs, new variants will make inroads into the country. So, we will have to be careful about that."
New cases marked a decline. So, it is now very necessary to vaccinate 1.5 crore people aged over 55 as soon as possible, which will result in a fall in Covid-19 deaths, he also said.
"We can easily vaccinate four crore people in two months. So, we have to keep on our efforts to bring in six crore vaccine doses under the Covax facility alongside 7 crore under the Chinese bulk-buy deal," Sayedur added.
Find way for reducing gap between two doses: PM
Quoting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam at a press conference at the Secretariat on Monday said PM has directed the officials concerned to see if the gap between two doses of Covid-19 vaccine can be reduced.
The premier also asked the relevant authorities to consider the matter whether it will be possible to shorten the existing two-month duration between two doses of inoculation on the basis of recommendation of the national technical advisory committee on Covid-19, he also said.
Besides, Sheikh Hasina directed the authorities concerned to take a separate programme to bring industrial workers and their family members under the Covid-19 vaccination coverage as soon as possible.
Professor Sayedur Rahman said the decision to reduce the gap between the two shots is positive as the first dose alone does not offer much protection against the delta variant.
"But if the gap between the two shots is reduced, the antibody titer starts declining after six months of the immunisation. This should be considered too," he noted.
Bangladesh reports 117 deaths from Covid
Bangladesh reported 117 more deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours until Monday morning, which is the lowest in 53 days.
The country has been witnessing a declining trend in Covid-19 deaths for around two weeks as the authorities lifted the nationwide lockdown on 11 August.
In the past 24 hours, the number of daily cases soared to 5,717, up from the previous day's 4,804.
The health authorities confirmed a 15.54% positivity rate during the past 24 hours after testing 36,789 samples across the country.
So far, coronavirus infection has claimed 25,399 lives in Bangladesh as the caseload rose to 1,467,715.