Those receiving the booster shots, however, will not be able to choose which vaccine they get.
Authorities have started to administer the booster shots in some districts on Tuesday and will roll out the programme to more on Wednesday, said Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, additional director general of the Directorate General of Health Services.
“Eventually, we’ll start giving out booster doses in all districts of the country,” said Dr Sabrina Flora, president of the National Vaccine Deployment Committee.
Bangladesh has been using Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines for the first two doses.
However, the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) has recommended only Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca shots be used for boosters.
Following the NITAG recommendation, the DGHS will only use those for the third doses, irrespective of what vaccines the recipient got in their first two doses.
On Sunday, the Expanded Program on Immunization gave instructions to vaccination centres in all districts, upazilas and city corporations to prepare to provide booster doses from Dec 28.
Although the Pfizer vaccine is the top choice for boosters, it has stricter storage requirements and cannot be transported everywhere, said Dr Sabrina Flora.
“Those taking the booster shots can’t make a choice. The Pfizer vaccine has specific requirements for transportation, which makes it unsuitable for many places. Therefore, we’ll administer Moderna or AstraZeneca in those areas.”
Some vaccination centres in Dhaka, mostly those where the DGHS is conducting vaccination drives, will not get the Pfizer vaccine either.
“We have a plan to give Moderna shots in those centres.”
According to the DGHS, booster doses were distributed on Tuesday in Faridpur, Shariatpur, Tangail, Cox’s Bazar, Rangpur, Panchagar, Bagerhat, Meherpur and Dhaka.
A total of 1,355 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered across Bangladesh on Tuesday, with 1,087 doses in Dhaka and the rest in other districts.
As many as 1,409 people have received boosters as of Tuesday. At least 54 people took booster shots on Dec 19, when the trial run of the booster vaccination programme began.