A host of Bangladesh cricketers and support staffers including the likes of Tamim Iqbal and Russell Domingo have been administered COVID-19 vaccines in Dhaka, ahead of the team’s departure for New Zealand for their limited-overs international series.
Star player Soumya Sarkar was the first Bangladesh cricketer to be vaccinated at the Kurmitola General Hospital and was followed by the likes of Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Naim and Taskin Ahmed. They were followed by support staffers as special arrangements were made for the overseas coaches. Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) director Jalal Yunus was also among those vaccinated as he will be travelling with the team for the New Zealand tour, according to ESPNCricinfo.
Whereas some more Bangladeshi cricketers who will be travelling to New Zealand will be vaccinated on February 20 and the BCB will make further arrangements for more vaccines to be administered following the tour, if needed.
“The thing about vaccinations is that if you know how helpful it is for you then I think your fear will go. I will not deny that I was afraid. I was not sure whether to take it or not. But after talking to the BCB and finding out that it is normal to have symptoms, it made sense to take it,” Tamim Iqbal said.
The Surokkha app was also launched at the same time in the presence of health minister Zahid Maleque and BCB president Nazmul Hassan, and Sarkar was the first to use it.
Taskin Ahmed said: “I am feeling quite good after being inoculated,” he told Prothom Alo. “There’s no physical problem yet. I would like to thank the honourable prime minister and BCB for making it so easily available for us. I urge everyone to be vaccinated. The Surokkha app has also made it a simpler process.”
With the Bangladesh government rolling out the vaccination drive earlier in February, more than one million Bangladeshis have taken the vaccines as of now. Notably, India had gifted Bangladesh 2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in January.
The Bangladesh team will depart for New Zealand on 23 February to play three ICC Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs and three T20 internationals