Wednesday, 20 October, 2021

Schoolchildren to be inoculated soon: Minister

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 11 October, 2021 12:00 AM
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Schoolchildren to be inoculated soon: Minister

Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque on Sunday said children aged 12-17, particularly schoolchildren, will be inoculated against coronavirus soon as the World Health Organization (WHO) has given go-ahead in this regard.

“During my recent visit to the WHO office in Geneva, I had a meeting with its director-general. He told me that they haven’t issued any circular about inoculating children aged 12-17. But he said you (Bangladesh) can carry out this. He agreed to administer Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to children to prevent infection,” he said. The health minister came up with the remarks while addressing a press conformance on Covid-19 vaccine and contemporary issues at the Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons (BCPS) in the capital.

“We have now a stock of 60 lakh doses of Pfizer vaccine which will be given to 30 lakh students. Another 70 lakh doses will arrive this month. Then there’ll be no shortage of vaccine to vaccinate students,” he added.

Zahid Maleque said vaccines will be given to only those children who will register using birth certificates or through their educational institutions.

He said he also talked to the representative of Gavi who assured him that they will give more Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in the coming days. “If we get our purchased vaccines and those under the Covax facility in time, we’ll be able to inoculate 8 crore or around 50 percent people with double doses within January. We’ll be able to vaccinate 12 crore or around 70 percent people by March-April next year,” he said.

The minister said the government is currently administering 4-6 lakh doses of vaccine daily in the country. “We have a plan to administer at least 10-15 lakh doses every day.”

Mentioning that 80 lakh doses were administered in a day under a special campaign marking the birthday of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he said they are now aiming to vaccinate more than this number in a single day. “We’ll take a special vaccination campaign at least for a day in every month.”

Zahid Maleque said the country will get around 3.50 crore vaccine doses in October, around 3.75 crore in November, around 5 crore in December and around 3.75 crore in January from various sources, including purchased ones and those under the Covax facility. “We’ll receive a total of around 16 crore vaccine doses by January. However, the number may increase if there’s an increase in the jabs provided under the Covax facility,” he added.