Bangladesh rolls out Covid-19 booster dose in Dhaka

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Dhaka, Dec 19: Bangladesh on Sunday started administering the Covid-19 booster dose to health workers on trial basis in capital Dhaka to fight off Covid-19.

The booster dose is being administered at Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons (BCPS) in Mohakhali area of the city in the morning.

“Initially, the booster dose will be administered on a low scale as a caution. After observing the effects of the vaccine for a few days, it’ll be rolled out for others,” Dr Abu Hossain Md Mainul Ahsan, the Civil Surgeon of Dhaka district, told journalists on Saturday in a virtual briefing.

Besides, doctors, nurses and health workers will get the dose, while senior citizens will get it in the next phase, keeping their comorbidities in mind.” said the Civil Surgeon.

On December 13, the Cabinet directed the authorities concerned, particularly the health minister and the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, to work on a precise guideline over the campaign of booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Bangladesh.

Earlier, the Prime Minister instructed the technical committee to work on a precise guideline on when the booster dose campaign needs to be started.

On December 12, the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 recommended booster shots for the citizens above 60 and frontliners.

The senior citizens and frontliners who got the two doses of vaccine six months ago will get the booster dose, the NTAC recommended at a meeting.

It also suggested all to take steps to limit public gatherings, meetings and rallies to contain the spread of Omicron.

On December 9, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Omicron is now present in 57 countries and asked all countries to stay alert about the new variant.

A WHO panel named the Coronavirus variant ‘Omicron’ and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the predominant delta variant, which is still a scourge driving higher cases of sickness and death in Europe and parts of the USA.

Amid the growing concern over the new ‘Omicron’ variant of coronavirus, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) suggested the implementation of 15 instructions to prevent the spread of the new variant and urged all concerned to take measures to enforce the instructions.

After Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Bangladesh on January 27, the health ministry rolled out the inoculation drive at five government hospitals in Dhaka on January 28.

Meanwhile, UK researchers have analysed the likely impact that a Covid booster shot will have on Omicron and say it could provide around 85% protection against severe illness.

The protection is a bit less than vaccines given against earlier versions of Covid, reports BBC.