Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan on Friday announced that unvaccinated students would not be allowed to attend classes from October 31 till they are partially vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a press conference at Islamabad, Sultansaid that students would be required to be at least partially vaccinated till October 31 and fully vaccinated by November 30 in order to attend their classes.
Dr Sultan also emphasised the urge to vaccinate children saying that the government had observed that the coronavirus was also spread by youth, especially during the fourth wave.
The Special assistant said, “You must have seen that cases increased whenever schools were opened. In this situation, it is very important that we give special attention to vaccinating children in schools. It has been seen worldwide as well that as long as a complete segment of society is not vaccinated, the spread of the disease is not fully stopped.”
The SAPM shared that 50 million children were studying in the informal and formal education sectors in Pakistan.
The government has decided to allow educational institutions to resume normal physical classes from Oct 11 (Monday) citing decreased positivity levels and the initiation of a vaccination campaign in schools as the reasons behind the decision.
While addressing the parents, he said, “We have mobile units which are vaccinating in schools. You can also go to centres to get vaccinated. I would urge you to vaccinate your children and do not hesitate.”
He said, “some children might get a slight fever after getting vaccinated, advising parents to not worry as it was an effect of the vaccine. “Sometimes, children get sick or have a fever. Rarely, one or two children also faint. But all these things are expected and if you see this in the broader perspective, if we vaccinate all our children, not only will be they protected from the disease but will also become an obstacle in its spread, the educational process will continue uninterrupted and the society will come close to normal.”
The SAPM assured the parents that the vaccines were safe and approved after much thought by the government. He advised the parents not to believe fake news and myths.
“Vaccines are safe and will help in stopping the spread of the disease. Our children are the future of our country and it is very important that they are educated and skilled.”
He also announced that the officials would be vaccinating children of schools and madrassas on Saturdays adding that the last week of October and November will be dedicated to vaccination.
Last month, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had initiated inoculating children who are 12 years and older.
The NCOC had also revised its Covid-19 vaccination guidelines for citizens below the age of 18 and said that they would be injected with the Pfizer vaccine.
The NCOC statement said that the below 18 children would have to use their B-form number for registration in the National Immunisation Management System.