Bangladesh setting up more vaccination centres for school children

The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has taken an initiative to increase the number of Covid-19 vaccination centres for school and college students aged 12-17 in Dhaka, DGHS Director (MIS) Dr Mizanur Rahman told Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.

Vaccination activities for 12-17-year-old students started at eight schools in Dhaka on November 1. The original plan was for each centre to vaccinate 5,000 students per day, but they have only managed to vaccinate 2,000-2,500 students each day, he said.

“The plan is to increase the number of vaccination centres for students from this week. This will help get closer to the target of vaccinating a total of 40,000 students each day, and it will also help reduce overcrowding at centres,” the DGHS official added. 

On Sunday, the centre for the school students under Mohammadpur’s Dhaka Residential Model College (DRMC) was at the Dhaka Commerce College in Mirpur. As many as 3,700 students aged 12-17 from the school have registered for vaccination.

Asma Begum, senior vice-principal of DRMC, told Dhaka Tribune: “We arranged for residential students to reach the centre using five buses. We also instructed non-resident students to go with their parents.”

About 2,000 of the students had received the vaccine while 400 were still waiting when the vaccine stock at the centre ran out at 12pm.

“When the stock ran out, the vaccine centre authorities told us the 400 students at the centre would be vaccinated, but they forbade us from sending buses with more students. They said the schedule for the remaining students would be announced later,” said the senior vice-principal.

Several students said they were disappointed that they did not get the vaccine after waiting at the school all day. Some expressed fear that their next vaccination date may fall during the SSC exams.

A number of parents were infuriated as it was significant trouble for them to take their children to the vaccine centre during the ongoing public transport strike, and they were still unable to get the vaccine.

DGHS Line Director Dr Robed Amin told Dhaka Tribune 100-200 vaccines were being administered daily at each booth. The number of booths varies from school to school in line with the capacity of each institution, ranging from 10 to 24.

He also said it would be difficult to increase the number of centres, as the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is extremely temperature-sensitive and requires specific conditions for storage.

“Discussions are already underway to select schools that have the correct conditions for setting up new vaccine centres. This activity will continue until the 12 to 17-year-old students are vaccinated. You can say that it will take some time, but we will be able to give the vaccine to everyone,” he added.

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