The government will launch another seven-day special vaccination campaign against Covid-19 from Thursday. This campaign will send on December 7, Dr Shamsul Haque, director of the vaccination program of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told reporters on Wednesday. Read more: COVID-19: US vaccine donations to Bangladesh exceed 100 million Around 90 lakh people will be vaccinated under this campaign where 17,116 teams will provide the service, he added. Meanwhile, the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 has recommended administering the fourth dose of Covid vaccine to contain the further spread of the virus, said Dr Shamsul Haque. It recommended bringing front liners, citizens aged above 60 and the pregnant women under the fourth dose vaccination progamme in the first phase, he said. Read more: JS body for quick completion of vaccine manufacturing plant work in Gopalganj So far, 87 percent of the total population, including children, have received the first dose in the country while 73 percent the second dose, he added.
Almost 33 lakh people are yet to get the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, but the government has decided to stop administering the first dose by October 3, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said today. “Nearly 33 lakh people did not receive their first jab yet while 94 lakh people did not receive their second shot of Covid-19 vaccine across the country,” he said while speaking at a workshop over Covid-19 vaccination for children, aged 5-11 years, held at a Dhaka hotel. He also urged people, who have not taken their first Covid-19 vaccine dose yet, to take the shot as soon as possible. Read: Covid-19 vaccine consignment for kids arrive in Dhaka “After the month of October, there is a possibility of first and second doses of Covid-19 vaccine being out of stock. If some remain, those will be expired. So, those who did not receive first, second and booster doses, have been asked to take their respective jabs immediately,” said the health minister. Currently, 2.5 lakh people are working to ensure Covid-19 vaccination and of them 60,000 are administering the vaccines, he said, adding already 30 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered across the country. Talking about administering Covid-19 vaccine among children, Maleque said ten lakh children have received Covid-19 jabs and some 2.15 lakh children are waiting to receive the jabs. Read: US donates additional 10mn Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses to Bangladesh
US Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Ambassador Michele J. Sison has praised Bangladesh’s tremendous success in countrywide COVID-19 vaccination and ensuring food security. She also praised Bangladesh’s contributions in peacekeeping operations (PKO), particularly women’s participation in the PKOs. During her meeting with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on Monday, she also discussed the upcoming elections in the multilateral fora. "The United States and Bangladesh share common interests on the most challenging global issues, and we will continue to collaborate closely," said the US Embassy on Tuesday as Sison wrapped up her visit.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Monday said the government will launch another ‘Covid-19 vaccination campaign’ aiming to vaccinate 75 lakh people with second dose and booster dose on Tuesday. The campaign will be launched in all government medical hospitals, specialized hospitals district and Sadar hospitals and upazila health complexes simultaneously, he said at a press briefing held at Mohakhali Directorate General of Health Services DGHS). The heath authoritieshave prepared 16,181 vaccination centers across the country to launch the campaign successfully, he said. Also read: Bangladesh gets another 4 mn doses of COVID-19 vaccine from US Besides, a total of 33,246 health workers and 49,869 volunteers will work during the campaign, he added. Those who received the second dose four months ago will get the booster dose, said Maleque. So far, a total of 76.05 per cent people have received the first dose while 70.3 per cent second dose and 17.9 per cent people received the 3rd dose across the country, said the minister. Currently, 2.78 crore doses of different vaccines against Covid are in stock now, he said. About bringing 5-11 years old children under vaccination programme, Maleque said the vaccination programme will start soon. The government has taken all necessary steps in this regard and the children should complete their registration through ‘Surokkha app’, he said. “The children will be given Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. For that a digital birth registration certificate will be needed,” he said. Also read: 2.4 million Dhaka residents to receive oral cholera vaccine in one week The minister also urged the parents to complete their birth registration online.
Novak Djokovic arrived early Monday in Dubai after his deportation from Australia over its required COVID-19 vaccination ended the No. 1-ranked men's tennis player's hopes of defending his Australian Open title. The Emirates plane carrying Djokovic touched down after a 13 1/2-hour flight from Melbourne, where he had argued in court he should be allowed to stay in the country and compete in the tournament under a medical exemption due to a coronavirus infection last month. Read: Tennis star Djokovic loses deportation appeal in Australia Dubai International Airport was quiet early Monday morning as flights from the Australia and Asia began to arrive. Passengers wearing mandatory face masks collected their bags and walked out of the cavernous terminal. The first Muslim call to prayers before the sunrise echoed over the terminal. It wasn't immediately clear where Djokovic planned to travel next. The Dubai Duty Free tennis tournament, which Djokovic won in 2020, doesn't start until Feb. 14. Dubai, the commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates, doesn't require travelers to be vaccinated, though they must show a negative PCR test to board a flight. Djokovic had won nine Australian Open titles, including three in a row, and a total of 20 Grand Slam singles trophies, tied with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most in the history of men’s tennis. Federer is not playing while recovering from injury, and Nadal is the only former Australian Open men's champion in the tournament that began Monday. Djokovic’s visa was initially canceled on Jan. 6 by a border official who decided he didn’t qualify for a medical exemption from Australia’s rules for unvaccinated visitors. He was exempted from the tournament’s vaccine rules because he had been infected with the virus within the previous six months. He won an appeal to stay for the tournament, but Australia's immigration minister later revoked his visa. Three Federal Court judges decided unanimously Sunday to affirm the immigration minister’s right to cancel Djokovic’s visa. Read: Double-fault: Visa revoked again, Djokovic faces deportation Vaccination amid the pandemic was a requirement for anyone at the Australian Open, whether players, their coaches or anyone at the tournament site. More than 95% of all Top 100 men and women in their tours’ respective rankings are vaccinated. At least two men — American Tennys Sandgren and Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert — skipped the first major tournament of the year due to the vaccine requirement. Djokovic's attempt to get the medical exemption for not being vaccinated sparked anger in Australia, where strict lockdowns in cities and curbs on international travel have been employed to try to control the spread of the coronavirus since the pandemic began.
Distrust, misinformation and delays because of the holidays and bad weather have combined to produce what authorities say are alarmingly low COVID-19 vaccination rates in U.S. children ages 5 to 11. As of Tuesday, just over 17% were fully vaccinated, more than two months after shots became available to the age group. While Vermont is at 48%, California is just shy of 19% and Mississippi is at only 5%. Vaccinations among the elementary school set surged after the shots were introduced in the fall, but the numbers have crept up slowly since then, and omicron’s explosive spread appears to have had little effect. The low rates are “very disturbing,” said Dr. Robert Murphy, executive director for the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “It’s just amazing.” Parents who hesitate “are taking an enormous risk and continuing to fuel the pandemic,” Murphy said. Read: Oregon issues hospital crisis care standards as COVID surges Hospitalizations of children under 18 with COVID-19 in the U.S. have climbed to their highest levels on record in the past few weeks. Many have other conditions made worse by COVID-19, though many aren’t sick enough to require intensive care. The low vaccination rates and rising hospitalizations are “a gut punch, especially when we’ve been working so hard to keep these kids well,” said Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician in Overland Park, Kansas. The vaccines have proved highly safe and effective at reducing the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death. Overall, 63% of Americans are fully vaccinated. Among children 12 to 17, the rate is 54%. COVID-19 shots for young children have been authorized in at least 12 countries. In Canada, where Pfizer shots were cleared for ages 5 to 11 in November, just 2% are fully vaccinated. Snowstorms, tornadoes and other heavy weather in December are believed to have slowed the pace of vaccination in the U.S., along with the busy holiday season. Also, some parents are distrustful because the vaccine is so new, and many have other concerns. Chicago mother Kendra Shaw has resisted shots for her two school-age children, saying she worries about possible risks and isn’t convinced the benefits are worth it. But this week, her 10-year-old daughter pleaded to get vaccinated so she wouldn’t miss school, and her soon-to-be 7-year-old son asked for his shots so he could have a big birthday party. Shaw scheduled their first doses for Wednesday but said: “I’m really on the fence.” Daniel Kotzin, of Denver, said he is convinced he made the right decision not to vaccinate his 5-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son because most omicron cases seem to be mild. “They are essentially at no risk of harm, so I really don’t understand the reason to vaccinate them,” he said. Doctors say that kind of thinking is misguided and part of the problem. “It’s true, kids in general do better than adults with COVID,” said Dr. Elizabeth Murray, a pediatric emergency medicine physician in Rochester, New York, and a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, “but ‘not too sick’ still can mean miserable with fevers and muscle aches for a week. It can also mean MIS-C or long COVID.” Authorities don’t think omicron is making children and adults more seriously ill than other variants, and say hospitalization rates are up partly because it is so much more contagious. Some children have been admitted for conditions such as lung disease, diabetes and sickle cell disease that have worsened because of an omicron infection, doctors say. Dr. Jesse Hackell, a pediatrician in Pomona, New York, said that at least 25% of his patients ages 5 to 11 are vaccinated, but that after an initial rush in the fall, the numbers have dwindled. “It’s a tough sell,” he said. “We’re not ready” is a common comment, Hackell said. “When I ask, ‘What are you waiting for?’ I get kind of a shrug. I’ve had a few say, ’We’re not going to be the first million. We’ll wait to see what happens.”’ A frustrated Hackell said the government’s vaccination campaign is clearly struggling against misinformation and “pseudoscience,” the likes of which he has never seen before in his 40-plus years as a pediatrician. Read:Covid cases in Bangladesh mark a sharp rise by 115% in one week: DGHS He said the government needs to get tough and mandate the shots. “If we could get every kid vaccinated across the board, it would go a long way. It wouldn’t end the pandemic, but it would end the severe disease,” Hackell said. “It could help turn the virus into nothing more serious than the common cold, and we can deal with that.’’
Locked in a dispute over his COVID-19 vaccination status, Novak Djokovic was confined to an immigration detention hotel in Australia on Thursday as the No. 1 men's tennis player in the world awaited a court ruling on whether he can compete in the Australian Open later this month. Djokovic, a vocal skeptic of vaccines, had traveled to Australia after Victoria state authorities granted him a medical exemption to the country's strict vaccination requirements. But when he arrived late Wednesday, the Australian Border Force rejected his exemption as invalid and barred him from entering the country. A court hearing on his bid to stave off deportation was set for Monday, a week before the season's first major tennis tournament is set to begin. The defending Australian Open champion is waiting it out in Melbourne at a secure hotel used by immigration officials to house asylum seekers and refugees. Djokovic is hoping to overtake rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and win his 21st Grand Slam singles title, the most by any player in men's tennis. Also read: Comeback! Djokovic tops Tsitsipas at French Open for Slam 19 Djokovic's securing of an exemption so that he could play triggered an uproar and allegations of special treatment in Australia, where people spent months in lockdown and endured harsh travel restrictions at the height of the pandemic. After his long-haul flight, the tennis star spent the night at the airport trying to convince authorities he had the necessary documentation, to no avail. “The rule is very clear,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. “You need to have a medical exemption. He didn’t have a valid medical exemption. We make the call at the border, and that’s where it’s enforced.” Health Minister Greg Hunt said the athlete's visa was canceled after border officials reviewed Djokovic’s medical exemption and looked at "the integrity and the evidence behind it.” The grounds on which he was granted an exemption were not immediately disclosed. Also read: Djokovic recovers from 2-set French Open hole against teen While Djokovic has steadfastly refused to say whether he has gotten any shots against the coronavirus, he has spoken out against vaccines, and it is widely presumed he would not have sought an exemption if he had been vaccinated. A federal judge will take up the case next week. A lawyer for the government agreed the nine-time Australian Open champion should not be deported before then. “I feel terrible since yesterday that they are keeping him as a prisoner. It’s not fair. It’s not human. I hope that he will win," Djokovic's mother, Dijana, said after speaking with him briefly by telephone from Belgrade. She added: "Terrible, terrible accommodation. It’s just some small immigration hotel, if it’s a hotel at all." Australia’s home affairs minister, Karen Andrews, said Friday that Djokovic could fly out of the country on the first available flight. “Can I say, firstly, that Mr. Djokovic is not being held captive in Australia. He is free to leave at any time that he chooses to do so,” Andrews said. "And Border Force will actually facilitate that.” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has also spoken to Djokovic and said his government asked that the athlete be allowed to move to a house he has rented and “not to be in that infamous hotel.” He said Djokovic has been treated differently from other players. “I’m afraid that this overkill will continue," Vucic said. "When you can’t beat someone, then you do such things.” Border Force investigations were continuing into two other people who arrived in Australia for the tennis tournament, Andrews said. Australia's prime minister said the onus is on the traveler to have the proper documentation on arrival, and he rejected any suggestion that Djokovic was being singled out. “One of the things the Border Force does is act on intelligence to direct their attention to potential arrivals,” he said. “When you get people making public statements about what they say they have, and they’re going to do, they draw significant attention to themselves.” Anyone who does that, he said, “whether they’re a celebrity, a politician, a tennis player . . . they can expect to be asked questions more than others before you come.” The medical-exemption applications from players, their teams and tennis officials were vetted by two independent panels of experts. An approved exemption allowed entry to the tournament. Acceptable reasons for an exemption include major health conditions and serious reactions to a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. A COVID-19 infection within the previous six months has also been widely reported to be grounds for an exemption, but that's where interpretations appeared to differ between the federal level, which controls the border, and tennis and state health officials. Former Australian Open tournament director and Davis Cup player Paul McNamee said the treatment of Djokovic was unfair. “The guy played by the rules, he got his visa, he arrives, he’s a nine-time champion and whether people like it or not he’s entitled to fair play,” McNamee told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "There’s no doubt there’s some disconnect between the state and the federal government. “I hate to think politics are involved but it feels that way.” Djokovic tested positive for the coronavirus in June 2020 after he played in a series of exhibition matches that he organized without social distancing amid the pandemic. Critics questioned what grounds Djokovic could have for the exemption, while supporters argued he has a right to privacy and freedom of choice. Many Australians who have struggled to obtain COVID-19 tests or have been forced into isolation saw a double standard. Tension has grown amid another surge of COVID-19 in the country. Victoria state recorded six deaths and nearly 22,000 new cases on Thursday, the biggest one-day jump in the caseload since the pandemic began. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has defended the “completely legitimate application and process” and insisted there was no special treatment for Djokovic. Twenty-six people connected with the tournament applied for a medical exemption and, Tiley said, only a “handful” were granted. None of those have been publicly identified.
When Cambodia rolled out COVID-19 vaccines, lines stretched down entire streets and people left their shoes out to save their places as they sheltered from the sun. But three months into its campaign, just 11% of the population had received at least one dose. In far wealthier Japan, it took two weeks longer to reach that level. Now both countries boast vaccination rates that rank among the world's best. They are two of several nations in the Asia-Pacific region that got slow starts to their immunization campaigns but have since zoomed past the United States and many nations in Europe. The countries with high rates include both richer and poorer ones, some with larger populations and some with smaller. But all have experience with infectious diseases, like SARS, and strong vaccine-procurement programs, many of which knew to spread their risk by ordering from multiple manufacturers. Also read: US mandates vaccines or tests for big companies by Jan. 4 Most started vaccinating relatively late due to complacency amid low infection rates, initial supply issues and other factors. But by the time they did, soaring death tolls in the United States, Britain and India helped persuade even the skeptical to embrace the efforts. “I did worry, but at the moment we are living under the threat of COVID-19. There is no option but to be vaccinated,” said Rath Sreymom, who rushed to get her daughter, 5-year-old Nuth Nyra, a shot once Cambodia opened its program to her age group this month. Cambodia was one of the earlier countries in the region to start its vaccination program with a Feb. 10 launch — still two months after the United States and Britain began theirs. As elsewhere in the region, the rollout was slow, and by early May, as the delta variant started to spread rapidly, only 11% of its 16 million people had gotten at least their first shot, according to Our World in Data. That's about half the rate reached in the United States during the same timeframe and a third of the U.K.’s. Today Cambodia is 78% fully vaccinated — compared to 58% in the U.S. It is now offering booster shots and looking at extending its program to 3- and 4-year-olds. From the beginning, it has seen strong demand for the vaccine, with the rollout to the general public in April coinciding with a massive surge of cases in India, from which grim images emerged of pyres of bodies outside overwhelmed crematoria. Also read: Indonesia first to greenlight Novavax COVID-19 vaccine Prime Minister Hun Sen leveraged his close ties with Beijing to procure nearly 37 million doses from China, some of which were donated. He declared last week that Cambodia's “victory of vaccination” could not have happened without them. The country also received large donations from the U.S., Japan, Britain and from the international COVAX program. Still, it took time to get sufficient supplies, and many countries in the region that started their programs later struggled even more, especially when the region’s major producer, India, suspended vaccine exports during its spring surge. “Certainly getting the supply in place was really important for the countries that have done particularly well,” said John Fleming, the Asia-Pacific head of health for the Red Cross. “Then there’s the demand creation side — clearly this is about getting a buy-in from the population and also reaching out to marginalized groups.” Early in the pandemic, many Asian countries imposed strict lockdown and travel rules that kept the virus largely at bay. As vaccines rolled out in force elsewhere, those low rates sometimes worked against them, giving some people the impression that getting the shot wasn't urgent. But when the virulent delta variant began ripping through the region, cases rose, encouraging people to sign up. Some countries, like Malaysia, made extra efforts to ensure that even the hardest-to-reach groups were offered the vaccine. It enlisted the Red Cross’s help to give shots to people living in the country illegally and other groups that may have feared showing up for a government-sponsored vaccination. “We made the vaccine accessible to all, with no questions asked,” said Professor Sazaly Abu Bakar, director of the Tropical Infectious Diseases and Research Education Center. As with Cambodia and Japan, Malaysia plodded along in its first three months, giving less than 5% of its 33 million people their first dose in that time, according to Our World in Data. When cases surged, however, Malaysia bought more doses and established hundreds of vaccination centers, including mega hubs capable of providing up to 10,000 shots a day. The country now has 76% of its population fully vaccinated. To date, about a dozen countries in the Asia-Pacific region have vaccinated more than 70% of their populations or are on the cusp of doing so, including Australia, China, Japan and Bhutan. In Singapore, 92% are fully vaccinated. Some countries in Asia, however, have continued to struggle. India celebrated giving its billionth COVID-19 vaccine dose in October, but with a population of nearly 1.4 billion, that translates to a fully vaccinated rate of 29%. Indonesia started earlier than most but has also stumbled, largely due to the challenge of expanding its campaign across the thousands of islands that make up its archipelago. Japan's vaccine program was notoriously slow — inching along while the world wondered if it would be able to hold the Summer Olympics. It didn't start until mid-February because it required additional clinical testing on Japanese people before using the vaccines — a move that was widely criticized as unnecessary. It was also initially hit with supply issues. But then it turned a corner. Then-Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga brought in military medial staff to operate mass inoculation centers in Tokyo and Osaka and bent laws to allow dentists, paramedics and lab technicians to give shots alongside doctors and nurses. The number of daily doses given rose to about 1.5 million in July, and the country is now at about 76% fully inoculated. A large part of Japan's success is due to the public's response, said Makoto Shimoaraiso, a senior official in charge of the country's COVID-19 response. Many in Japan are skeptical in general about vaccines, but after seeing deaths soar around the world, it has not been an issue. In fact, retiree Kiyoshi Goto is already clamoring for his next shot, as he looks warily at rising case in Europe. “I want to get a booster shot as our antibody levels are going down,” the 75-year-old said. In Phnom Penh, Nuth Nyra was just happy to get her first, saying she was afraid of COVID-19 before — but no more. “I felt a little bit of pain when I got the shot,” the young girl said in a soft voice at a vaccination center on the outskirts of Cambodia's capital. “But I didn’t cry.”
Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Saturday said the government will administer 6 crore more Covid-19 vaccine doses by January next across the country. “So far, 9 crore vaccine doses have been administered and the government aims to administer 6 crore more doses by January next,” he said. With the administering of 6 crore more vaccine doses, some 7.5 crore people of the country will fully be vaccinated, Zahid Maleque added. Also read: Covid vaccines to be administered in all schools to vaccinate students The minister said this at the inauguration programme of Bangabandhu Gold Cup Premier Division District Football League at Shaheed Miraj Tapan Stadium in Manikganj district town.
In expanding the Covid-19 vaccination programme the government will start giving the jabs to the city’s slum dwellers from Tuesday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque has said. The drive will start from Korail slum, home of about three lakh people, the minister told a programme at Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons in city’s Mohakhali on Monday. Read: Bangladesh can produce Covid vaccine, let us do it: PM Zahid said that even though Bangladesh has been able to bring the Covid fatality rate under control, the rate of infections is still increasing. “We want to bring the deaths and cases to zero level,” he said. He said already 5 crore people have received the first dose of vaccine while 3 crore people have been fully vaccinated. Some 15 lakh people are taking the Covid jabs daily on average and the government has a plan to jab 3 crore people this month.