Pediatric COVID-19 vaccination begins in country

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Dhaka, Aug 11: National vaccination campaign for children aged between five and 11 with pediatric doses of US-donated Pfizer vaccines began in the country on Thursday.

With support from the United States, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Education launched the campaign at Abul Bashar Government Primary School in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area, said a press release.

Nidhi Nandini Das, a third grader of the school, was the first to receive the first shot of the pediatric Covid-19 vaccine.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni and US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas were present at the inaugural ceremony of the vaccination campaign.

UNICEF Country Representative Sheldon Yett, and other Bangladeshi government officials and representatives of international organizations joined the event, where the first group of Bangladeshi children received their first shots.

The United States recently donated over three million pediatric doses of Pfizer vaccines and committed to donating a total of over 40 million (4 crore) pediatric doses.

US support for this new children’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign includes over $7.3 million and comes alongside other assistance from COVAX.

“This is a remarkable step for kids, for parents, and for the entire nation. We hope these vaccines enable young Bangladeshis to return to more normal lives to pursue their studies and dreams more fully,” said US Ambassador Haas.

The United States has donated over 75 million (7.5 crore) doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Bangladesh, accounting for more than two-thirds of all international COVID-19 vaccine donations to Bangladesh to date.

US support has also trained over 51,000 healthcare providers and other workers on safely administering vaccines across 64 districts, donated 18 freezer vans, 750 freezer units, and 8,000 vaccine carriers to help transport 57 million doses of vaccines to remote areas, and directly provided 47 million vaccinations.

The United States has contributed more than $140 million in COVID-19 related development and humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh.

Globally, the United States has donated $4 billion to support the COVAX effort, which includes support for ultra-cold chain storage, transportation, and safe handling of COVID-19 vaccines, making the United States the world’s largest donor for equitable global COVID-19 vaccine access.