Asia - Pacific

Bangladesh begins vaccinating slum dwellers against COVID-19

All low-income people will be covered soon under ongoing vaccination drive, says health minister

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 17.11.2021
Bangladesh begins vaccinating slum dwellers against COVID-19 Slum dwellers wait to get the Covid-19 vaccine, in Dhaka Bangladesh on November 16, 2021. A Covid-19 vaccination program has started at Korail, one of the biggest slums in Dhaka, which accommodates around three lakh people. ( STRINGER - Anadolu Agency )

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh kicked off a vaccination drive for slum dwellers against COVID-19 at a large slum in the capital Tuesday. 

The special campaign began in Dhaka’s Korail slum located close to the city’s upscale residential areas of Gulshan and Banani.

“We will vaccinate all of our people, including slum dwellers across the country,” said Health Minister Zahid Maleque, speaking at a local event.

He added that once the majority of Bangladeshis are vaccinated, the country will likely roll out booster shots.

Speaking at the same event, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said that to date, Bangladesh has paid for 210 million vaccine doses from various manufacturers, excluding supplies that the country has received as gifts from various sources.

As part of the drive, Bangladesh began vaccinating the nearly 300,000 inhabitants of the Korail slum from 25 booths.

A huge number of residents had lined up at the vaccination centers since the morning.

Slum dwellers celebrate

“We are happy to get vaccinated without any online pre-registration or other hassles,” Shefali Begum, who lives in the slum with her three daughters and works in the country’s readymade garment industry, told Anadolu Agency.

She added that without such an arrangement, it was almost impossible for her to register online and get vaccinated from any fixed center.

Another resident, van driver Mohammad Laltu Mia, said he just came to the location with his national identity card and volunteers helped him quickly register.

“I have taken the first dose easily and hope that I will take the second dose in the same way,” Mia said, adding he feels secure now.

Many destitute people who only had their birth certificates were also registered on the spot and vaccinated.

“I was worried as I had no national identity card. But today, I received the vaccine just by showing my birth certificate on the spot,” said Anwar Hossain.

Millions of low-income and extremely poor people are living in thousands of slums across Bangladesh, one of the world’s most densely populated countries with over 166 million people.

The megacity Dhaka is the most crowded urban area, with a population of over 20 million, and nearly one million residents live in over 3,000 slums, according to government records.

It is expected that the government will smoothly handle the vaccination drive for the poor without any irregularities for the greater interests of the working people.

The South Asian nation has registered 27,928 deaths from the virus, including two in the last 24 hours. It has also recorded more than 1.57 million cases and nearly 1.54 million recoveries.

To date, nearly 52 million people have been vaccinated with a first dose while more than 33 million have received a second dose.


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