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To increase the country’s COVID-19 vaccine coverage, the Government of Bangladesh has begun a vaccination drive of children between the ages of 12 and 17 this month. In the first phase of its ‘Pfizer Vaccine and Logistics Distribution’ initiative, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has set out to vaccinate approximately 3 million school children with the Pfizer vaccine. The programme began on November 1 and is currently being implemented in eight school campuses across Dhaka. Every day, around 2,000 children are being vaccinated in each of the selected schools.

The UK Government and UNFPA in Bangladesh are supporting the programme by providing eight air-conditioned vehicles for transporting the vaccines and other necessary supplies to the schools. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK Government and UNFPA have actively supported the Government in closing critical gaps in its national COVID-19 response through technical, material and monetary support. 

To observe how the vaccination drive is progressing, a delegation from the Directorate General of Health Services, the British High Commission Dhaka and UNFPA visited Hurdco International School today on 11 November, 2021. The British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, H.E. Mr. Robert Chatterton Dickson; the Programme Manager, EPI, MNC&AH, Directorate General of Health Services, Dr. Mowla Baksh Chaudhury; the Civil Surgeon, Dhaka, Dr. Abu Hussain Md. Moinul Ahsan; and the Country Representative a.i. of UNFPA, Dr. Eiko Narita joined the delegation.

During the visit, the delegation observed students receiving the vaccines and discussed their concerns regarding the ongoing situation together with their parents. The parents expressed great relief of better protection for their children from the virus and hoped the campaign could be expanded to other parts in the country in a timely manner.

The British High Commissioner H.E. Robert Chatterton Dickson said: “I am delighted to see this well-coordinated and timely initiative by the Health and Education ministries of the Government of Bangladesh. Targeted Covid-19 vaccination will be a vital enabler in bringing students back to school, which is essential to their educational development and to Bangladesh’s continuing economic and social progress.”   

“Considering the country’s enormous population, it is impressive that the Government of Bangladesh has been able to vaccinate adolescents this rapidly. Seeing the relief on the faces of the students and their parents today has given us an important reminder that, despite the challenging situation, we need to continue this vaccination effort. We also highlight and commend school opening that provided this opportunity for adolescents to access the vaccine while they learn,” UNFPA Representative a.i, Dr. Eiko Narita concluded at the end of the mission.