Coronavirus has already killed more than 4.0 million people across the world. The number of survivors is much more and many of those are still suffering. Countries are trying to intensify their efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus. Vaccination becomes the prime tool to fight the pathogen and protect people. According to The New York Times coronavirus vaccination tracker, more than 3.93 billion vaccine doses have already been administered globally, equal to 51 doses for every 100 people.
Many developing countries, including Bangladesh, have administered a small number of vaccine doses mainly due to lack of availability. So far, only 6.40 per 100 people in Bangladesh have received the jab. Only 3.7 per cent of the country's total population becomes vaccinated and the ratio of fully vaccinated people stood at 2.6 per cent. However, the government has taken several steps to procure Covid-19 jabs from different sources, including India, China, Russia, Japan, and the United States (US). At least 135 million vaccines have been purchased, although only 11 million jabs have arrived. It is expected that a good amount of vaccines will be available soon to start mass vaccination across the country.
A populous country, Bangladesh has no alternative to mass vaccination to contain the spread of infection. On the other hand, strict restriction or hard lockdown is costly and the outcome is not optimal. For more than a year, different restrictive measures were there. The measures curtailed economic activities and consequently incomes and livelihoods of a large number of people. There is, however, no solid conclusive evidence that the restrictive measures helped contain the spread of infection effectively.
Since Bangladeshis have largely failed to maintain social distancing, wearing masks and washing or sanitising hands frequently, there was little option for the government other than imposing lockdown to curb coronavirus. Initially, wrong planning and poor governance put the effectiveness of lockdown under question and enhanced the public sufferings. However, the costly trial-and-error has now started to pay off to some extent. At this point, the government's decision to go ahead with mass vaccination is the right step.
As part of the plan, Covid-19 vaccination at the union level through on-the-spot registration will start on August 7. Potential recipients will have to bring their NID cards to the inoculation centres to receive the jab. Instead of pre-registration, the proposed spot registration will likely work better as people don't need to go here and there for registration. It will also reduce the scope of any illegal payments in the name of registration.
No doubt, there will be some chaos and mismanagement during the first few days as it always happens in the country, mainly due to a lack of coordination among the relevant agencies. Poor governance has already turned essential service delivery weak and hazardous in many cases. Moreover, local administration in cohort with local political leaders sometimes makes it difficult for the citizens to avail of their due services. So, it is crucial to take a coordinated preparation for minimising any chaos and rendering the mass vaccination hassle-free for all.