Some 112 schoolchildren were inoculated against Covid-19 in Manikganj on Thursday as part of a trial run for vaccination of school students.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque inaugurated the test run held at Colonel Malek Medical College Hospital at noon.
The 112 students of four government schools aged 12-17 received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Mobasshir Rahman, a Class-X student of Manikganj Govt Boys’ High School, received the jab first followed by Tasmia Akhter Toa, also a Class-X student of Gorpara Zahid Maleque High School.
“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,” Mobasshir said.
After receiving the vaccine, Tasmia Akter Toa thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for arranging vaccines for schoolchildren. Sixty of the students were from Manikganj Govt Boys’ High School, 32 from SK Gov Girls’ High School, 10 from Zahid Maleque High School and another 10 from Bangabandhu High School.
Although 120 students were supposed to be vaccinated on the day, the health authorities could not inoculate eight of them for various reasons.
“We want our children to be safe, too. Soon, schoolchildren across the country will be brought under the vaccination drive,” he said.
The minister said the government has already taken initiative to collect at least 24 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines from various sources, including World Health Organization (WHO), Covax facility, Serum Institute of India and Sinopharm of China. “An adequate number of vaccines are now arriving every month while the jab also started coming from India.”
Principal of Colonel Malek Medical College Hospital Dr Md Zakir Hossain said they were yet to receive any complaint from the vaccinated children.
The DGHS chief told a virtual briefing on Wednesday that they would observe the vaccine recipients for the next 10-14 days to see whether they develop any side effects. Later, the vaccination of school students will begin on a larger scale in Dhaka.
According to the DGHS, the Pfizer vaccine will be sent to 19 districts soon. Health workers concerned have already been trained. Apart from these districts, there will be eight centres in the capital.
Initially, the districts where Pfizer will be provided are Bhola, Jhalakathi, Barishal, Chattogram, Cumilla, Chandpur, Noakhali, Lakshmipur, Narsingdi, Gazipur, Tangail, Satkhira, Jashore, Mymensingh, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet, Sunamganj and Habiganj.
Of these, vaccines will be given at four centres in Chattogram, eight in Rajshahi, two in Noakhali, two in Chandpur, three in Narsingdi and two in Mymensingh.
The DGHS sources further said 26 more districts, including Gopalganj, Manikganj and Narayanganj, will be brought under the vaccination coverage in near future.
On January 27, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched the Covid-19 vaccination programme at Kurmitola General Hospital through videoconferencing.
The government rolled out the countrywide mass Covid-19 vaccination drive on February 7 vaccinating people aged 55 and above in the first phase.
On July 29, the government lowered the minimum age limit for taking Covid-19 jabs to 25 from 30 years in a bid to give a boost to the lagging vaccination rates in the country.