Bangladesh opens COVID vaccine test run for children Thursday

Students from two schools will receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Colonel Malek Medical College Hospital on Thursday, kicking off vaccination efforts for children between the ages of 12 and 17 on a trial basis.

The administration of the shots will serve as a ‘test run’, says Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of health services. The test subjects will then be placed under observation for 10-14 days.

“The honourable prime minister instructed us to arrange vaccines for the children,” he said. “We will begin the test run for these shots at the Colonel Malek Medical College in Manikganj at noon on Thursday. We have initially selected students between the ages of 12 and 17 at two government schools and will give them the Pfizer vaccine.”

“We do test runs before we roll out any vaccine. For 10-14 days after the shots are administered, we will keep them under observation to note any changes. Then we will launch our vaccination campaign on a large scale in Dhaka. The education minister, education secretary and other ministry officials are involved in the process.”

The health minister’s constituency was selected for the vaccine trial run because of technical matters, said ABM Khurshid Alam.

On Tuesday, the director general had said the country would roll out its vaccination programme for children by the end of the week.

Earlier in the week, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said that he had met with representatives from the WHO director general’s office and the vaccine alliance Gavi during his recent visit to Switzerland. Their representatives had given their assent to the vaccination of children against COVID-19, he said.

The government currently has six million shots of the Pfizer vaccine, which will be used as first and second doses evenly.

Children will be able to register for the vaccine through their birth registration, birth certificate, or through their schools, the minister said.