Tens of thousands university students may fail to get vaccinated due to registration issues
The government is yet to give its final decision on inoculating university students, although the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has already started receiving lists of both public and private university students via the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, health officials said the Covid-19 vaccination process for university students remains in a limbo as the government’s new 18-point guideline had further extended the closure of educational institutions across the country.
“The decision is yet to come from the government directly, but we are white-listing the students from the list provided by the UGC. We are prepared and will be able to start vaccination for the students after being instructed by the government,” an official from the DGHS’s Management Information System unit, wishing not to be named, said.
Many university students may fail to get vaccinated
Although some 817,707 students are currently enrolled in 46 public universities across the country, as of 2020, the UGC estimates that they will be able to provide information of some 70,000 students to the DGHS for vaccination.
“We expect that around 70,000 students from public universities will finally apply for vaccination. We have also urged all the universities, including private ones, to send us students’ information and we will send it to the DGHS accordingly,” UGC Member Prof Dil Afroza Begum told Dhaka Tribune.
However, the number of private university students willing to be vaccinated remains unknown, although 349,160 students are currently enrolled in 105 private universities, as of last year-end.
“We have received information about 35,300 students from the public universities across the countries till last week except for DU and forwarded them to the DGHS,” she added.
Around 28,000 students had applied for vaccination to the Dhaka University (DU) authorities, out of some 38,000 current students, till 10pm of March 31, two hours before the deadline for the university expired for receiving applications.
“Those who did not register themselves for the vaccine will keep themselves and others at risk. No government in the world has made this vaccination mandatory for all,” Prof Afroza said.
“We have urged the DGHS verbally to make new applications, especially for students where they can be registered by using either their Student IDs or NID numbers. We have found that many students do not have NIDs. However, the DGHS replied that the government would take an ethical decision in this regard.”
How can DU students get vaccinated?
Data from DU’s ICT cell showed the names of those who registered, only 10,500 students had official email account from the university while some 17,500 students used their university enrollment number to register themselves through the designated website for vaccination at DU, sources said.
DU’s ICT cell Director Prof Dr Md Asif Hossain Khan said: “The UGC has sought a list of students seeking the vaccine from us. We are preparing the list on the basis of either national identity cards (NID) or birth certificates.”
“After the registration deadline expires, information provided by students wishing to be registered, those who do not have a DU provided email, will be verified through their respective departments or halls.”
“The list is ready for use anytime as all information remains preserved in an automated way. After verification, we will provide the list to the UGC,” Asif, also a professor of Computer Science and Engineering department of the university, added.
Students’ registration process will be same as others
Students will need to register themselves by selecting their specific category from the drop-down menu on the Surokkha (Covid-19 vaccine registration server of Bangladesh) website, which will be added after being permitted by the government and no separate application will be launched,” the DGHS official, who sought anonymity earlier, said.
There are 21 categories in the Surokkha website under which Bangladeshi nationals can register themselves for vaccination.
No vaccination without NID!
No decision has been taken yet to provide vaccines to students without NIDs, a DGHS official told Dhaka Tribune.
“Those who have reached 18 years of age will get NIDs as soon as possible after contacting the Election Commission (EC). We have issued a proposal to the EC that NIDs should be given in the shortest period of time to all since they are necessary to register for Covid-19 vaccination. EC told us it will arrange at least the online copies of NIDs instead of hard copies on an emergency basis,” the DGHS official stated.
Fresh decision of shut-down
The government on Monday ordered all pre-primary, primary, madrasa, secondary, higher secondary, universities and all coaching centres to remain closed due to the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Although all educational institutions across the country were shut down on March 17 last year due to the pandemic, only Qawmi madrasas reopened in August last year under special consideration.
As schools, colleges and universities remain shut, all academic activities are now being conducted online.
In February this year, amid protests by students of several universities, the government decided to reopen all universities on May 24.
However, a month later, the government extended the school and college shutdown, which was supposed to end on March 29, and then extended the prohibition till May 23.