The health ministry has not yet made a decision or prepared a plan for vaccinating students before they can return to the university halls, said sources at the health ministry and agencies concerned.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said students will have to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus before the university residential halls are opened on 17 May.
Dr ASM Alamgir, principal scientific officer of Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) told The Business Standard on Tuesday that the education ministry has not yet informed the health ministry officially about the vaccination of students.
"We still do not know how many students stay in the residential halls. We will prepare a plan after information about them is sent to us separately," said Dr Alamgir, a member of the Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Core Committee.
Professor ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of the Directorate General of Health Services told TBS, "We are planning. We need to acquire vaccines to vaccinate people. The 3 crore doses of vaccine we have now will be given to 1.5 crore people.
"There are about 4.5 crore people over the age of 40. They had been promised to be vaccinated early. Now primary school teachers will be vaccinated too. We are trying to find a way to open schools."
The health ministry has no plans to vaccinate people under the age of 40 in the first phase of the vaccination programme. At present, people of 19 professions are being vaccinated on a priority basis.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque told reporters at the Secretariat on Tuesday that, "Teachers would be vaccinated on a priority basis as per the prime minister's directive. Many of the teachers are 40 years old. Teachers under the age of 40 will also be vaccinated."
He further said, "Students under the age of 18 will not be vaccinated, those who are older will be vaccinated as per the government decision."
The health minister also said the vaccination activities will depend on the availability of the vaccine in the future.
Meanwhile, the Dhaka University administration on Tuesday requested the government to give the first dose of coronavirus vaccine to the students by 17 April – one month before opening the halls.
Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Akhtaruzzaman said, "The precondition for staying at the university's halls is to get vaccinated. Those who have physical problems will be considered in terms of the doctor's prescription."
Earlier, in a briefing on Monday, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said students, teachers, officials and employees of the residential halls will be vaccinated before opening them.
There are 1.30 lakh residential students in 220 halls, 15,000 teachers and 25,000 employees in 46 public universities across the country. Besides, there are 106 private universities. As many as 40 lakh students are in the higher education level.
As the 54th country, Bangladesh inaugurated its mass vaccination campaign on 27 January though the immunisation was officially rolled out on 7 February.
Bangladesh will immunise 60 lakh people in the first month of the mass inoculation drive. The country is seeking to inoculate 80% of its population of around 17 crore.
The second round of Covid-19 vaccination drive will be administered from 7 April.
Bangladesh vaccinated 182,896 lakh people Tuesday – the 14th day of the nationwide Covid-19 immunisation drive. With this, the country has vaccinated 2,491,053 people so far.
Around 36 lakh people have completed their registration for the shots as of 23 February afternoon.
The vaccination campaign is currently being carried out at 1,005 centres across the country. Except for on weekends, around 2,400 teams are inoculating citizens from 8am to 2:30pm every day.