In line with WHO’s nod, the vaccination drive for these students will start immediately, says Zahid Maleque
Three million students, aged between 12 and 17, will receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine as it is suitable for them once the vaccination drive for them starts, says the health minister.
Addressing a press briefing on the vaccine at Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons (BCPS) in Dhaka on Sunday, Zahid Maleque said: “We currently have six million Pfizer doses in stock. Seven million more doses will come soon too. We have no crisis now.
“These students will have to register for the vaccine using their birth certificates or through school authorities.”
The ICT Division has been asked to facilitate the registration process, he said and added: “The overall process is underway. Vaccination of [12-17 year old] students will start immediately.”
The minister said that their decision on Pfizer jabs for students aged 12-17 was taken as the World Health Organization director general also agreed during a recent meeting between them.
He said the government plans to vaccinate 1-1.5 million people every day amid the ongoing nationwide inoculation drive and aims to fully vaccinate 80 million of the total population between December and January.
“We want to fully vaccinate a total of 120 million people by March-April of next year,” he added.
More doses on the way
So far, Maleque said, Bangladesh has received 70.22 million vaccine doses from different sources – either bought, received as gifts or under the Covax facility.
“Currently, we have a total of 10.81 million doses in stock. But within this month that stock will be over 30 million,” said the minister.
“By November, we will have at least 30.75 million doses. Most of the vaccine consignments will arrive in December. We are also hoping to receive nearly 50 million doses in December from China and Covax,” Maleque shared.
“Bangladesh will also receive 30.75 million more doses in January. About 160 million doses will be procured or collected from various sources by January,” he said.
On September 12, the students of schools and colleges in Bangladesh returned to their classrooms after an 18-month closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bangladesh started administering the first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at three centres in Dhaka to fight off Covid-19 on June 21.
The US said it is committed to leading the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic and it will begin this summer the allocation of 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine it is providing to Gavi for distribution byCovax to countries around the world.
US President Joe Biden reaffirmed this commitment by announcing that his country will donate 80 million doses of vaccines to support global needs.
Vaccination drive in Bangladesh
So far, 17,940,300 people have fully been vaccinated in the country while 36,178,946 received the first dose as of Saturday, according to the Directorate General of Health Services(DGHS).
On January 27, Prime Minister Hasina launched the Covid-19 vaccination program at Kurmitola General Hospital through a videoconference.
The government rolled out the countrywide mass Covid-19 vaccination drive on February 7 vaccinating people aged 55 and above in the first phase.
On July 29, the government lowered the minimum age limit for taking Covid-19 jabs to 25 from 30 years in a bid to give a boost to the lagging vaccination rates in the country.