Bangladesh eyes COVID-19 booster shot for senior citizens, frontliners after Omicron cases reported

Bangladesh plans to step up work on a precise guideline over the campaign of booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the country following the discovery of Omicron cases.

The government issued a directive to relevant departments at a regular cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the wake of the rapidly transmissible variant Omicron surfacing in different parts of the world as well as in Bangladesh.

The directive also followed the latest suggestions of the country's health consultative body, which recommended senior citizens and frontliners get a COVID-19 booster shot six months after the second dose.

The government's National Technical Advisory Committee on COVID-19 suggested that the frontliners and those aged 60 and above, who received the second jab at least six months ago, be given booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

The committee during the meeting held on Dec. 11 recommended limiting any gathering and meeting to control the new Omicron variant of the virus.

It said all the meetings should be held online unless absolutely necessary.

It also stressed the need for screening, quarantine and isolation around the country as part of various beefed-up measures to rein in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque said Saturday that the Omicron variant was detected in two female cricketers of the Bangladesh Cricket Team. The cricketers returned to the country recently from Zimbabwe, he added.

The Bangladeshi government has recently made 14-day institutional quarantine mandatory for those returning from seven African countries as part of precautionary measures to rein in the new variant of the COVID-19.

On Monday, Bangladesh reported 385 new cases and three new deaths from the virus, bringing its total tally to 15,79,710 with the death toll standing at 28,031. 

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