111 students get Covid-19 vaccine in trial campaign
Tenth-graders Mobasshir Rahman Rafi and Tasmia Akter Toya became the first school-going children in Bangladesh to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Enlarging the number of student vaccine recipients for Covid-19 during the trial run, health authorities have inoculated 111 students, aged 12 to 17, at Manikganj.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque inaugurated the program at Colonel Malek Medical College and Hospital in Manikganj around 12:30pm on Thursday.
"It’s indeed a great day for us… We initially plan to vaccinate three million students,” he told the media before adding that Bangladesh aims to inoculate the 10 million children in the country gradually.
All the students have received the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine received through Covax facilities, he added.
Although 120 students were supposed to be vaccinated on the day, the health authorities decided not to vaccinate nine of them as they were suffering from various illnesses.
Sixty of the students were from Manikganj Government Boys High School, 31 from SK Government Girls High School, 10 from Zahid Maleque High School and another 10 from Jatir Janak Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur High School.
The health minister yet again informed the media that schoolchildren will be inoculated through only 21 vaccination centres across the country as the transportation and storage of the Pfizer vaccine needs special arrangements.
The government currently has six million shots of the vaccine, which will be used as first and second doses evenly.
“We are administering a safe vaccine [Pfizer-BioNtech], which has been made in the US, to children. The US and several other European nations are giving these shots to children,” said Maleque.
The minister hoped that they would inoculate 50% of the population by January.
“If the smooth supply remains, we can vaccinate 70% to 80% people by April next year,” he said.
Mobashbir Rahman Rafid, a 10th grader of Manikganj Government Boys High School, was the first child to receive a Covid-19 shot in Bangladesh.
“I was a little bit scared at first. But I felt no discomfort after receiving the vaccine. I’m over the moon to be the first child to be vaccinated,” he told UNB.
Meanwhile, Taslima Akhter, another 10th grader of Zahid Maleque High School, was the first schoolgirl to be vaccinated in the country.
“Since school reopened, I have been suffering from a sense of fear to join classes because of Covid-19. Now I can attend classes without fear,” she said.
Principal of Colonel Malek Medical College and Hospital Dr Md Zakir Hossain said they are yet to receive any complaint from the vaccinated children.
On Wednesday, the district health unit informed that 100 students from two schools would get the vaccine on the day.
But 20 students from 2 more schools were added to the list following special consideration, said active Civil Surgeon of the district Dr Lutfor Rahman.
According to DGHS, some 37,472,327 people got at least one dose till Thursday while 18,594,365 of them got both doses till Wednesday evening.
Till Wednesday the government was vaccinating people aged 25 or above and only students aged 18 or above.
In the program, DGHS chief Prof Dr Khurshid Alam, top officials from the directorate, Director (Dhaka division) Dr Belal Hossain, and top officials from district administration were present during the time.