Chaos at vaccine centres
"We had to stand in a long queue on the road. So, traffic movement stood still for a long time in the area. If the programme was conducted at every school, students would have benefitted."
While authorities have taken an initiative to inoculate students of Chattogram, health guidelines are barely being followed during the vaccination campaign. Students and their guardians crowded the inoculation centres yesterday, with no social distancing in sight.
The vaccination programme kicked off for students aged between 12 and 18 years in the port city yesterday.
Three community centres were selected for this purpose: Rima Community Centre at Askar Dighir Par, Hall Seven Eleven at Dewan Bazar and Abdullah Community Centre on Agrabad Access Road.
Visiting the venues, this correspondent found long queues of students in front of the buildings. The lines spilled onto the roads, creating traffic congestion. Guardians accompanying the students made the situation even worse.
A long tailback was seen at Agrabad Access Road, in front of Abdullah Community Centre, around 11:30am, and similar scenes were observed in front of the other venues.
Ninth-grader Tanmoy Ghosh was seen standing in line in front of Hall Seven Eleven. He said he was happy to get vaccinated, but at the same time, described the troubles he faced.
"We had to stand in a long queue on the road. So, traffic movement stood still for a long time in the area. If the programme was conducted at every school, students would have benefitted," he said.
However, many students and their guardians did not wear facemasks nor maintained social distancing while standing in lines. Rafiq Ahmed, a guardian, expressed his worries over the matter. "No one is following health guidelines. No one is maintaining social distancing. I'm worried about my child getting infected," he said. "The administration should've been strict to maintain health rules during the programme."
Contacted, Dr Elias Chowdhury, civil surgeon of Chattogram, said they are aiming to vaccinate 28,000 students in the city and 50,000 in 15 upazilas every day till January 18. "The number of community centres will be increased in two to three days, so students can get vaccinated easily," he said.
Asked, Dr Hasan Shahriar Kabir, Chattogram divisional director of DGHS, said the programme was arranged at community centres and not hospitals due to safety concerns.
"To administer Pfizer vaccines, AC venues are needed, but we could only manage three such venues, " he said. "We will increase that number soon."