The Financial Express

Vaccine for students, others

| Updated: November 09, 2021 22:03:44

-Representational image -Representational image

The launching of the Covid-19 vaccination programme for school students is, indisputably, a welcome development. But as observed on the very first day, a messy situation might be overshadowing the programme. Yet people tried their best to feel upbeat. Although schools and a few colleges reopened over two weeks ago, prompting guardians to expect the institutions to begin vaccination soon for students, the ground reality comprised gloomy pictures. Despite feeling the urgency of sending their children aged 12-17 to school, the guardians had been waiting for the vaccination campaign to start at schools. According to the school authorities, attendance at the institutions had yet to be satisfactory since their opening, as parents were visibly reluctant to send their wards to school unprotected. But the state of vaccination on the opening day couldn't be termed an auspicious start.

Almost all the school and college-based vaccine centres in Dhaka had the same bitter experiences in the opening phase starting from Nov 1. The students at eight vaccination centres in Dhaka are set to receive Pfizer vaccines. Characterised by widespread mismanagement --- which included delay in the supply and administering of the vaccine doses and their quantity less than that promised, thus keeping students and their guardians in tormenting wait, collapse of the health guidelines and other irregularities have, apparently, marred the campaign's spirit. One hopes this messy phase will eventually be over. Bangladesh cannot afford to grapple with these adversities for long. Being dependent on both donated and purchased vaccines to inoculate '80 per cent' of the country's population, a country like Bangladesh just cannot let its vaccination programme be trifled with.  Of its vast population, a sizeable number are students --- considered the future of the country.

The policymakers and the higher authorities must be aware of the fact that a significant number of these young people live in the remote areas in villages. To speak forthrightly, these students cannot be left in the lurch. But it's also true the government is hamstrung by many limitations --- especially those related to vaccine purchase from overseas countries. However, as reported in the media, given its present stock the government is confident of administering 5,000 doses a day from each centre. It plans to inoculate 40,000 children a day in Dhaka. It sounds good, and bodes well for the guardians worried about the vulnerability of their 12-17 years old children.

To add to this comfortable portrayal of the vaccine scenario in the country, the Covid-19 Vaccine Management Taskforce Committee of the DGHS has reportedly said it had plans to set up vaccination centres (for students only) in every district. Moreover, the Department of Information and Communication Technology has said 474,835 students studying at different educational institutions have submitted their National Identity Card numbers. A total of 131,771 students have already registered with the Surokkha site for the vaccine. However, there are people, who have discovered an attitude of neglect towards the elderly citizens, especially the underprivileged. The attitude is dormant in a segment of the authorities. Notwithstanding the several mass inoculation campaigns across the country, many still remain unvaccinated. These omissions are blamed on the people themselves, who have difficulty doing their registration online. Few could manage the fixed charges required for online registration at 'commercial centres'. Most of them belong to the far-flung rural areas and communities. The authorities can organise vaccinations for the left-out elderly people alongside students. The nation can ill afford to remain oblivious of them.

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