November 27, 2022, 9:33 pm

Staff Correspondent

2022-08-01 16:15:12 BdST

Corona vaccination for children aged 5-11 may start Aug 7

The government is likely to start vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 years against coronavirus on August 7 through a pilot vaccination programme in a bid to ensure their safety.

“After the health minister’s return from abroad, we will finalise the vaccination programme for children aged 5-11 years. The pilot programme may be held on August 7 or 8,” Prof Dr Khurshid Alam, director general of DGHS, said.

Health and family welfare ministry sources said Health Minister Zahid Maleque, now on a visit to Thailand, may return home on August 2.

According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), the first consignment of over 15 lakh doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines developed especially for children has reached the country on July 30.

"There are also some activities of the education ministry regarding inoculation of the children with the coronavirus vaccine. The final vaccination date and time will be announced soon," Khurshid Alam said.

He further said some children will be inoculated with the vaccine in some educational institutions at first as the pilot programme.

“As per our routine work, we will observe the inoculated children for two weeks whether there is side effects of the vaccine among the children. Then we will start the vaccination of the children in full swing across the country,” he added.

The DGHS sources said around 2.2 crore children aged 5 to 11 years will be inoculated with Pfizer vaccine in first phase.

Temporary vaccination centres set up at different schools across the country will administer corona vaccine to children.

Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) issued an order with 12-point directives on July 28 on the vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 years.

The directives said the students aged 5 years to 11 (11 years and 364 days) have to register online through using surokkha apps/website to receive the vaccine.

“The students must belong to birth certificate with 17 digit numbers. Students who do not have a 17-digit birth registration number must get a 17-digit birth registration; Heads and guardians of the institutions concerned should ensure that,” it said.

However, the directives also included that registration through the surokkha apps/website is not mandatory for the children with special needs to receive the vaccine.

The DSHE further said students having foreign passport have to send their information in specific format, to [email protected], before registering online.

It asked all educational institutions to prepare the list for vaccination of students in such a way that no student is left out.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque on April 30 announced the government’s plan to inoculate children aged 5 years to 11 years.

In July, he informed that the government has got assurance of getting three crore doses of the vaccine to administer them to children.

The government took the initiative of inoculating the children with the Covid-19 jabs due to further transmission of the coronavirus in the country.

The country is now facing fourth wave of the coronavirus transmission which is influenced by the various sub-variants of Omicron coronavirus.

According to UNICEF, the Omicron variant is the most transmissible variant to date for all age groups, including both adults and children. So, an increase in the number of children affected is expected.

The World Health Organsiation (WHO) said there is growing evidence that children can be safely vaccinated against COVID-19.

Many countries of the world, including the USA, the UK, Saudi Arabia and Brazil, already has started inoculating children with the coronavirus vaccine.

The US Food and Drug Administration in June this year authorized emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 to include use in children down to 6 months of age.

The government is now administering adult aged 18 years and above and children aged 12 years to 17 years across the country. The DGHS sources said 1.61 crore children have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine during the previous campaign for those aged 12-17.

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