16 children get first Covid shots on trial
Sixteen schoolchildren, aged between five and 11, received their first dose of coronavirus vaccines at a programme in the capital yesterday.
The vaccine shots, specially made for children by Pfizer, were administered on a "trial basis" yesterday before a campaign is scheduled to begin for inoculating children on August 25.
Nidhi Nandini Das, a grade-III student of Abul Bashar Government Primary School in the capital's Sher-E-Bangla Nagar area, is the first child to receive the vaccine in Bangladesh at the event at Bangabandhu International Conference Center.
"Today [yesterday] we are vaccinating children on a trial basis. We will vaccinate schoolchildren in the city corporation areas from August 25 and then the campaign will be expanded countrywide," Health Minister Zahid Maleque said while inaugurating the event as chief guest.
Education minister Dipu Moni, US ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas and top officials of different ministries and development partner organisations attended the event.
Dipu Moni informed some 98 percent of students, aged between 12 and 18, have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccines and 83 percent received second doses.
"There will be no obstacle in continuing academic activities once these children [aged between five and 11] are vaccinated."
After receiving vaccines, a colourful balloon was gifted to each child yesterday.
Asked, Shyamoli Rani Malakar, headmaster of Abul Bashar Government Primary School, said the guardians expressed their interest in getting their children jabbed as the school authorities contacted them.
"We have had experience from today's [yesterday] event. We will set up vaccination centres at the schools. We need a few more days to finalise the schedule," Shamsul Haque, member secretary of the Covid-19 Vaccine Management Taskforce Committee, told The Daily Star.
There are 21,932,638 primary schoolchildren in the country, according to the directorate of primary education.
Besides, there are many children of this age group studying in madrassas, and kindergarten schools and engaged in child labour across the country while many are living a life on the streets.
The Directorate General of Health Services, however, has so far received 30 lakh Pfizer vaccines made especially for children.
"The vaccine stock will rise to one crore by the end of this month," Shamsul Haque told The Daily Star earlier.
Meanwhile, the DGHS has reported 214 new cases of Covid-19 and one death in the past 24 hours till 8:00am yesterday, read a press release.