As misconception and misinformation ran high, Prof Kanak Kanti Barua took the first shot of Covid-19 vaccine yesterday morning.
The convention centre of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University was teeming with health workers and journalists at the time.
"It is my social, national and personal responsibility to take the shot. People will gain confidence in the vaccine, watching me take it," said the vice-chancellor of BSMMU.
He called on people to take shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India, without paying heed to rumours.
On receiving the shot, Kanak Kanti said he felt as healthy as before and there was no sign of side-effects.
With an eye-shield and KN-95 mask on, economist and former adviser to the caretaker government Wahiduddin Mahmud entered the convention centre around 10:30am and took the first dose of the vaccine.
Four hours later, he told The Business Standard that he was fine. "It [vaccine] brings psychological relief. I feel everyone should take the shot when his or her turn comes, without fear."
State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak took the jab from the same centre.
"A section of people has been running anti-vaccine campaigns," he said, adding that he took the shot in front of the media to fight against the propaganda in social media.
"I decided to take the vaccine when a question arose as to why politicians were not taking the shots. The vaccine is safe. Everyone should take the jab without fear," Palak said.
Around 11:00am, Health Secretary Abdul Mannan got the vaccine dose in presence of Health Minister Zahid Malik.
The minister said the vaccination campaign began in a pleasant environment. "Many important personalities were inoculated, putting an end to all speculations."
Those who had received the jab so far were feeling well, the minister said.
Some 541 people received the first shot of Covid-19 vaccine yesterday [Thursday] in the first run of the vaccination campaign in the country.
They were inoculated at 5 hospitals – Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, Kurmitola General Hospital, Mugda Medical College and Hospital, Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University -- in the capital.
Earlier on Wednesday, 26 people got the jab at Kurmitola General Hospital.
Of those who were vaccinated yesterday, 431 were men and 110 women. And 332 were doctors, 39 nurses and 208 from other professions.
After a close monitoring of those, who already received the vaccine, for any side effect and the distribution of doses across the country, a nationwide vaccination programme will begin on February 7.
"We will complete all the necessary preparations by the time," said Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora, additional director general of the Directorate General of Health Services.