Covid Vaccination: Govt to lower age bar to 30 years
The government has decided to lower the age limit to 30 years for Covid vaccination to bring more people under its inoculation campaign.
The decision came at a virtual meeting of the Covid Vaccination Programme Committee yesterday as the country continues to see a surge in virus infections and deaths.
"We suggested bringing down the age limit to 18 years … But the meeting decided to lower the age limit to 30 years from 35 at this moment and gradually bring it down to 18," a top government official told The Daily Star, seeking anonymity.
Asked, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said, "We are working to implement the prime minister's decision to expand the vaccination campaign and lower the age limit to 18 years, keeping in mind the educational institutions."
He, however, did not elaborate.
Meeting sources said the government will start vaccinating people living in slum areas of the capital after the Eid vacation as part of its efforts to bring those with limited access to internet and technology under its vaccination programme.
As per the decision, people living in Karail slum will be vaccinated right after the Eid-ul-Azha to be celebrated on July 21.
The government also plans to buy another three crore doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China.
So far, around four percent of the country's population has been inoculated. The vaccination campaign, which was stalled due to a dearth of supply of AstraZeneca vaccine jabs from Serum Institute of India, resumed recently with the arrival of Sinopharm, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
The government has so far received 1.79 crore doses of Covid vaccines from different sources, including 33 lakh jabs as gift from India and 11 lakh shots from China.
As of July 17, a total of 1.11 crore people were inoculated -- 43 lakh of them got both the first and second shots.
Yesterday's meeting also decided to inoculate Rohingya refugees aged 55 and above. According to government data, 47,240 Rohingyas will be vaccinated at 62 centres at the refugee camps in Cox's Bazar.
Vaccine doses and necessary accessories have already been dispatched to Cox's Bazar Civil Surgeon's office, sources said.
The vaccination campaign at the Rohingya camps will be assisted by the UNHCR, which will also help in issuing vaccination cards to the targeted population, they mentioned.
Vaccination at the camps is likely to start on August 16 and continue till August 24. Those who will miss out during this period will be vaccinated on August 25 and 26.
The authorities are yet to decide on which vaccine will be administered to the refugees, added the sources.
The government's inoculation drive, which began on February 7 and revolved mainly around Serum's vaccine supply, came to a grinding halt after New Delhi suspended vaccine export in the last week of April due to a massive surge in Covid infections in India.
Bangladesh suspended administering the first dose on April 26. The inoculation of first dose resumed on a limited scale this month with the arrival of Sinopharm and Pfizer vaccines.
But the administering of the second Covishield jab among around 15 lakh people hangs in the balance due to suspension of supply from Serum, the largest vaccine producer in the world.
Bangladesh is supposed to get 6.8 crore vaccine doses this year under Covax facility. Those could cover around 20 percent of the population.
But the country has so far received 1.06 lakh doses of Pfizer and 25 lakh doses of Moderna vaccines from Covax. It will receive 30 lakh Moderna vaccine jabs tonight under the facility.