Bangladesh on Thursday started administering Covid-19 vaccine to the children aged between 5-11 years on experimental basis.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni and US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas jointly launched the campaign at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in the city.
The full-fledged vaccination programme for children will start from August 25, said the Health Minister.
He said about 20 lakh children of primary schools will be vaccinated under this campaign. “We will need about 4.40 crore doses of vaccine for these children.”
“We have already received about 30 lakh doses of vaccine. The US government has assured us to provide the rest of the vaccine through COVAX facility,” he added.
The received vaccines will be administered among the children in two months gap.
Pfizer vaccine is specially developed for the children which was also approved by Directorate General of Drug Administration, he added.
Mentioning the low risk among children from Covid, the minister said about 29,000 people have died of Covid in the country so far, of which 80 to 85 percent are above 50 years. The fatality rate among the youths is very low.
“We ranked first in South Asia in conducting vaccination programs. Many countries are still unable to vaccinate 10-15 percent of the population,” said the minister.
He said, “We have a record of inoculating 1.20 crore people in a single day.”
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 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.
The United States has contributed more than $140 million in COVID-19 related development and humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh, said the US Embassy in Dhaka.
UNICEF Country Representative Sheldon Yett, government officials and representatives of international organizations attended the event