University students to be brought under vaccination programme

Mohammad Al Amin

30 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The government has planned to bring the university students under the national vaccination programme to check the coronavirus transmission in the educational institutions.

“We have plan to inoculate the university students with the coronavirus vaccines like others but everything about the vaccination is depending on availability of vaccines,” Dr. Md. Shamsul Haque, Line Director (MNC & AH) of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS,) told the daily sun.

He, however, said the national committee on Covid-19 vaccination has not given any specific decision about reducing the age limit of the vaccine receivers at this moment.

“But literally as part of the plan to bring the university students under the coronavirus vaccination programme, we already have started inoculating the medical college students across the country with the Sinopharm vaccine of China,” the DGHS official said.

He further said the DGHS will inoculate around one lakh and ten thousand students of government medical colleges, students of Medical Assistant Training School (MATS), Institute of Health Technology (IHT) and Nursing & Midwifery Institutes across the country.

Bangladesh on May 25 started providing Chinese Sinopharm vaccine with inoculating the medical college students. Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque inaugurated the pilot programme of the vaccination at a function in Dhaka Medical College Hospital. About 1,000 students of the public medical colleges received first dose of Sinopharm vaccine as trial case.

On May 12, the government received five lakh Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese government company Sinopharm, as gift. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has confirmed his Bangladeshi counterpart on May 19 that they will send another six lakh doses of the same vaccine as gift.

The government on Thursday approved a proposal to purchase 15 million doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine from China at $10 per shot. "Five million vaccine doses will arrive in Bangladesh each month in June, July and August," Additional Secretary Shahida Akter said at a briefing after the meeting.

The DGHS sources said after getting first consignment of 50 lakh of the Sinopharm vaccine, the health and family welfare ministry may start inoculating the university students from the next month.

“We have to give vaccine to around eight lakh public university students and 28 lakh students of different other universities across the country,” Dr. Md. Shamsul Haque of the SGHS said.

Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni on May 26 said the public universities having residential halls will be reopened after completion of two doses of coronavirus vaccination of cent percent students. The universities with no residential halls may be opened from June 13, she said.

Dipu Moni said, “The process is underway to bring the students of residential halls under vaccination. After vaccination of at least 1 lakh 30 thousand students, we will allow them to enter residential halls.”

The government at first had planned to inoculate only the prioritised, frontline workers and everyone aged over 55. But later it had reopened online registration for people aged over 40. Family members of frontline fighters who were over 18 years were also eligible to take the vaccine.

However, the government has planned to bring all eligible people under the national vaccination programme against Covid-19, in phases, Health Ministry sources said.

The DGHS on May 6 halted the registration process due to the vaccine crisis. A total of 7,248,829 people had registered for the coronavirus vaccine until May 5. The registration process started on January 27 after the inauguration of the National Vaccination Programme by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The government had started the nationwide inoculation on February 7 with Oxford-AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine.

The DGHS said 5,819,811 people received the first dose of the vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII). The administering of the first dose was suspended on April 26 due to the vaccine shortage. And around 42 lakh people received the second dose of the vaccine till Saturday.

Bangladesh has so far got 1.3 crore doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Of the total vaccine shots, the government purchased 70 lakh from the SII and received 33 lakh more as a gift from the Indian government.

Around 20 lakh more doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are needed to complete the second dose of the vaccination with the same jab as there is a shortage of around 15 lakh shots.

The government is trying to bring the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from some others countries including UK and India, the health ministry sources said.

Bangladesh gave the emergency use authorisation to Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine on April 29 and approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine on April 27 and approved Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on May 27.

On January 8 last, the authorities approved the use of Oxford-AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).