Students below 18 to be vaccinated, says Health Minister

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Dhaka, Sept 04: With all eyes on its efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, Bangladesh is going to vaccinate students below 18 with Pfizer and Moderna jabs.

“Any vaccine dose can be administered to students over 18 but those who’re below 18 can be vaccinated with Pfizer and Moderna jabs following the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) directives as per the availability of vaccine doses,” said Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Saturday.

The minister revealed the information while talking to reporters after visiting comprehensive examination centres under Nursing and Midwifery Course at Tejgaon Government Girls College in the city on Saturday.

“An inter-ministerial meeting will be held on Sunday. The meeting is expected to decide whether the school students will be vaccinated against Covid-19,” he said.

Zahid Maleque went on saying, “We think that the students over 18 can receive any vaccine but in the case of those who’re above 12, we’ve to follow the other countries like the US and the UK where students are given Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.”

About 80 % teachers and students involved in medical treatment have been brought under vaccination campaigns, the minister added.

Those who are receiving their first jabs will get their second ones from September 7, and people have been asked to go to their respective vaccination centres to take their shots, he said.

Besides, orders have been placed to collect 16.5 crore doses of vaccines. Of these, 6.5 crore will come from China while the remaining ones will come from the WHO, he said, adding, “The doses will likely arrive in the country within January next.”

Zahid said steps are underway to recruit more nurses, and their numbers will be three times higher than the physicians working in the health sector.

“Alongside the physicians, nurses are performing their duties with sincerity and we’re trying to recruit more nurses to solve the manpower crisis,” he said.

Bangladesh ready to reopen schools

Primary, secondary and higher secondary educational institutions in the country will reopen on September 12 following a prolonged closure, said Education Minister Dipu Moni on Friday.

“The decision was taken at a joint meeting of the Education Ministry, Ministry of Primary and Mass education and the National Technical Advisory Committee held on Thursday night,” she said at a function in Chandpur sadar upazila.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to reopen all the schools, colleges, including madrasas, on September 12 as per the decision,” Dipu Moni said.

Covid situation in Bangladesh

Maintaining the downtrend in the pandemic situation, Bangladesh reported 70 Covid-related deaths and 3,167 new cases in 24 hours till Friday morning. However, the positivity rate rose a bit to 10.76% from Thursday’s 10.40% during the period.

Bangladesh logged 88 Covid-19 deaths and 3,436 cases on Thursday.

The fresh numbers pushed the country’s total fatalities to 264,32, while the cases reached 15.10,283, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

The country last saw 112 coronavirus-related deaths on June 29 and the upswing in the fatalities reached its peak on August 5 and 10, when 264 deaths were recorded.

The new cases were detected after testing 29,438 samples in 24 hours, the DGHS said.

However, the situation was much more catastrophic from June to the better part of August as the country experienced a surge in Covid-related caseloads and deaths during that time.

Between May and June this year, there was a 273% rise in monthly caseloads and 162% in fatalities. In July, there was a 150% increase in caseloads and a 170% rise in deaths compared to the previous month, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).