Bangladesh starts nationwide COVID vaccination drive

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DHAKA, Bangladesh, FEB 7: Bangladesh on Sunday began a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, days after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched the immunization from Dhaka on Jan. 27.

Officials including Health Minister Zahid Maleque, top court judges and frontline workers were inoculated to boost public confidence in the vaccine. The campaign has been launched from 1,005 public health facilities across the country.

At the inauguration ceremony in the capital, the minister assured that the vaccine produced by Oxford-AstraZeneca of which Bangladesh has received 7 million doses, is safe. India’s Serum institute, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is producing the jab under license.

More than 328,000 people have registered to get vaccinated, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.

ABM Khurshid Alam, the head of the directorate, told Anadolu Agency that frontline workers, i.e. health care staff including nurses and doctors, and officials from law enforcement agencies will be vaccinated on a priority basis in the first phase.

“We hope to begin mass vaccination for everyone within the next 10-15 days,” he said.

Bangladesh has registered a total of 537,770 coronavirus cases, including 8,190 related deaths. Over 3.7 million people have been tested.