August 13, 2022, 12:11 pm


Staff Correspondent

Published:
2021-12-14 03:40:38 BdST

PM orders preparations for booster doses as omicron emerges


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed health officials to make preparations to administer COVID vaccine booster doses, or third doses, amid the emergence of the ‘omicron’ variant in numerous parts of the world.

The Prime Minister made the statement during a cabinet meeting that discussed the omicron situation on Monday, reports bdnews24.com.

“We discussed the omicron variant today,” said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam in a news briefing after the meeting. “We must stay very careful.”

“It is spreading worldwide. Scientists around the world are recommending booster doses. We are considering giving booster doses in our country as well.”

The National Technical Committee on COVID-19 and Health Minister Zahid Maleque were present at the meeting, the cabinet secretary said.

The committee has advised that those over 60 years of age receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The recommendation was made after Maleque asked the experts for their advice on booster doses to shore up immunity and resistance to the disease.

“COVID booster doses may be given to those over 60 years of age and those frontline workers who received their second vaccine dose over six months ago, if sufficient doses can be set aside from the regular coronavirus vaccination programme,” the advisory committee said in a statement after a meeting on Monday.

Bangladesh has already administered 109,267,577 doses of the COVID vaccine, according to the Directorate General of Health Services. The first dose has been administered to 66,514,886 people, while 42,752,691 have also received a second dose.

The DGHS says the government still has a stock of 40 million COVID doses.

GOVT TO ROLL OUT BOOSTER DOSES IN DECEMBER

The government is preparing to roll out booster doses of the coronavirus vaccine in December, Health Minister Zahid Maleque told the media on Monday.

“We’ve decided to administer booster doses, especially to those aged over 60 and frontline workers. We need to update the Surokkha App and hopefully will be able to roll out the programme this month.”

Besides the booster doses, the government also plans to prioritise vaccinating those who have not been part of the vaccination drive so far, the minister said.

“Our hospitals are prepared. We’re setting up 80 oxygen generators and 30 of them have already been set up. Yesterday an oxygen generator capable of producing 1,000 litres of oxygen per minute was inaugurated. Now we’re producing 300 tonnes of oxygen,” the minister said when asked if the government was prepared to combat the omicron variant of coronavirus.

“There’s no dearth of vaccines,” he added.

In response to the prime minister’s questions about the progress in vaccinating students, the health minister noted the process had been slow.

“We can only give Pfizer vaccines to students (under 18 years of age) and we don’t have proper cold chains across the country. Therefore, we’re only providing it in the places where cold chains are available,” he said.

The government has taken measures to introduce a thousand vaccination booths, he said, adding that Bangladesh currently has 2,500 vaccination booths.

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