Many residential students of public universities said that they had yet to register for getting COVID-19 vaccine as 13 big universities, including Dhaka University and Rajshahi University, had not handed over the names and other details of their residential students to the Directorate General of Health Services.
Many other students whose names were sent to the directorate complained that they could not register on the Surakkha app to get a vaccination schedule as they did not have the National Identity cards required for the registration.
A number of students expressed doubt whether they would be vaccinated before May 17 as per the government plan.
Only a few students who got the first dose of the vaccine said that they had to register on the app as university employees as students are not in the priority list of the app.
According to the University Grants Commission, 35 out of 48 public universities have sent lists of 41,758 residential students for vaccination.
UGC member Muhammad Alamgir said that the public universities had an estimated 1.30 lakh residential students, of whom only 30,000 had NIDs.
‘The Directorate General of Health Services told us that they would give the vaccine to the students who have NIDs on a priority basis and create alternative options for others,’ Alamgir said.
Jahangirnagar University chemistry student Shahriar Alam Ayon, a residential student of Moulana Bhashani Hall, said that like many other students, he had not got the vaccination schedule for not having the NID.
Another JU student, Hasib Sohel, said that he had an NID but took the first vaccine dose in March registering as an employee of the university being instructed by the university authorities as the Surakkha app had not included students on the priority list.
The UGC, however, has not compiled yet the data on the number of students who got the first dose.
Dhaka University theatre and performance studies student Nikita Azam, a resident of Shamsunnahar Hall, said that she had not got the vaccine schedule even after submitting all documents sought by the university authorities in March.
‘I do not think that students’ vaccination will be completed within the deadline when a lockdown has been imposed,’ Nikita said.
Dhaka University vice-chancellor Md Akhteruzzaman said that the university had not handed over the list of residential students to the DGHS as the listing process had not been completed.
When his attention was drawn to the deadline, Akhteruzzaman said that the government-set deadline was not a biblical order that must be executed under any circumstances, especially when the nation was going through a pandemic situation.
UGC member Alamgir said that the universities, the education ministry and the health ministry should take the issue seriously for bringing all the residential students under the vaccine coverage as per the plan of reopening the universities on May 24.
Education minister Dipu Moni while announcing the university reopening schedule on February 22 said that all the 1.30 lakh residential students of the public universities would be vaccinated before reopening residential halls on May 17.
‘We will vaccinate 5.76 lakh employees and teachers, including 15,524 public university teachers,’ she said, adding that non-residential public university students and students of private universities and colleges under the National University would remain out of the vaccination coverage.
DGHS spokesperson Robed Amin said that they would introduce a student section on the Surakkha app after the education ministry would send the list of all residential students.
Health experts, however, recommended that all teachers, employees and students of public and private universities should be brought under the vaccination coverage for controlling COVID-19 infections.
Education minister Dipu Moni and secretary Md Mahbub Hossain could not be reached for comments.
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