Through the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), Bangladesh has made significant progress in ensuring vaccination coverage for children aged 0-2 years since 1979. The EPI aims to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPDs) by providing high-quality immunisation services to all children in Bangladesh. The country has successfully provided vaccines against ten VPDs through fixed and outreach sites, with some diseases now eradicated, such as polio. In 2014, Bangladesh was declared a polio-free country by the WHO South Asia Region’s certification committee [1].

The Covid-19 pandemic heavily affected vaccination programmes in Bangladesh, as routine immunisation services were disrupted in the early months of the pandemic, and around 284,000 children missed regular vaccinations in April 2020 [3]. However, Bangladesh resumed immunisation services in June 2020 and has continued to provide vaccinations regularly. From December 2020 to January 2021, Bangladesh conducted a mass measles and rubella immunisation programme, vaccinating 3.6 million children and overcoming challenges posed by Covid-19. Efforts are underway to include more non-EPI vaccines in the core programme, but negative parental attitudes, lack of awareness, and the pandemic have disrupted the vaccination process, leading to an increase in the number of zero-dose and first-dose vaccinated children [4].

To address this issue, Bangladesh has deployed 44,000 medical personnel, trained 7344 vaccination teams, and established over 1000 vaccination sites. The country has also implemented robust policies such as the Medical Waste Management Plan and Vaccine Administration Tracking [2], and partnered with organisations such as WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, ADB, and icddr,b to ensure the success of its vaccination campaign. Despite the challenges, regular DTP3 vaccination has continued under the vigilant EPI programme, and emergency Covid-19 vaccinations have also been provided [7].

One major challenge in achieving successful immunisation coverage is the lack of equity in access to vaccines and resource limitations [6]. According to the 2020 measles-rubella bulletin by the Directorate General of Health Service (DGHS), out of 5824 suspected measles cases, only one dose of vaccine was given to 137 children aged 0-11 months, 256 aged 12-59 months, 249 aged 5-9 years, 423 aged 10-14 years, 210 aged 15-19 years, and 276 aged 20 years and above. Meanwhile, 335 children aged 9-11 months, 173 children aged 1 year, but less than 2 years, 281 children aged 2-4 years, 391 children aged 5-9 years, 200 children aged 10-14 years, and 793 children aged less than 15 years did not receive any dose [5].

Bangladesh’s success in ensuring the continuity of its immunisation programme, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, demonstrates the country’s commitment to achieving its goal of reducing morbidity and mortality from VPDs. The government’s efforts, supported by its partners, have enabled it to overcome the obstacles and ensure that children in Bangladesh receive the necessary vaccinations to protect them from preventable diseases. Going forward, the government will continue to work towards achieving equitable access to vaccines and overcoming geographical challenges to ensure that all children in Bangladesh are vaccinated. 

 


  1. Bangladesh polio free [Internet]. The Daily Star. 2014 [cited 2023 Apr 15]. Available from: http://www.thedailystar.net/bangladesh-polio-free-17528  
  2. The zero-dose child: Explained [Internet]. Gavi.org. 2021 [cited 2023 Apr 15]. Available from: http://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/zero-dose-child-explained 
  3. Al Amin M. How Bangladesh’s immunisation system is coming back stronger [Internet]. Gavi.org. 2023 [cited 2023 Apr 15]. Available from: http://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/how-bangladeshs-immunisation-system-coming-back-stronger 
  4. Hanifi SMA, Jahan N, Sultana N, Hasan S-A, Paul A, Reidpath DD. Millions of Bangladeshi children missed their scheduled vaccination amidst COVID-19 pandemic. Front Public Health [Internet]. 2021;9:738623. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.738623 
  5. Measles Rubella Bulletin. Directorate General of Health Services, 1 Jul. 2021, Gov.bd. [cited 2023 Apr 15]. Available from: http://old.dghs.gov.bd/images/docs/EPI/MR_Bulletin_2nd_quarter_2021.pdf 
  6. Responsive COVID-19 vaccines for recovery project under the Asia pacific vaccine access facility (RRP INO 54425-001) SECTOR ASSESSMENT (SUMMARY): HEALTH 1 [Internet]. Adb.org. [cited 2023 Apr 15]. Available from: https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/linked-documents/54425-001-ssa.pdf 
  7. Morol, Shishir. “টিকাদানে নায়ক বাংলাদেশ.” Prothomalo.com. [cited 2023 Apr 15]. Available from: http://www.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/%E0%A6%9F%E0%A6%BF%E0%A6%95%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%A6%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%A8%E0%A7%87-%E0%A6%A8%E0%A6%BE%E0%A7%9F%E0%A6%95-%E0%A6%AC%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%82%E0%A6%B2%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%A6%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%B 
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