Health Minister Zahid Maleque says that children aged 5-11 will get the COVID-19 vaccine at their registered school centres.
Schools are preparing to administer the vaccines, he told the media after a National Mourning Day event at the National Cancer Institute and Hospital on Monday. The education authorities will specify which schools will have vaccination centres at a later date.
Seventeen students from Dhaka’s Abul Bashar Government Primary School received the paediatric vaccine on a test basis on Aug 11. The vaccines, specifically designed for children by Pfizer, will be distributed to kids nationwide starting Aug 25.
The Directorate General of Health Services had, at first, said that vaccine centres for children would be set up at hospitals. A number of hospitals close to the applicant’s place of residence were listed on the Surokkha website during the registration process.
However, Zahid Maleque said on Monday that the decision had been changed.
“We have taken the necessary steps to administer vaccines to children,” he said. “The schools in city corporation areas will get the vaccines first and are prepared to do so. School authorities have been instructed to ensure the children and their guardians will come to the centre at the appropriate time.
The DGHS plans to administer 22 million vaccines to children between the ages of 5 and 11 in Bangladesh.
All children will eventually get the vaccine, Maleque said.
“Even children among the floating population will get it. We have 22 million vaccines for children between the ages of 5 and 11. All of them will be covered by the vaccine programme. Even those who do not attend school or have no fixed home will get it.”
Bangladesh has, so far, received 3 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech paediatric vaccine from the US. The remaining doses needed for the vaccination drive will arrive in the future.