Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan on Friday announced that students will not be allowed to attend classes from October 31 unless they are partially vaccinated against the coronavirus.
In addition, students will be required to be fully vaccinated by November 30 in order to attend their classes, he said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.
At the outset, Dr Sultan emphasised the need to vaccinate children, saying the government had observed that the coronavirus was also spread by youth, especially during the fourth wave.
“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,” he said.
This was why the government had opened up vaccination for the 12- to 18-year-old age group, he added.
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 classes from Oct 11 (Monday), he said, citing decreased positivity levels and the launch of a vaccination campaign for schools as the reasons behind the decision.
“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 told parents.
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 said the vaccines were safe and approved after much thought by the government, and advised parents to not 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 Saturdays will be marked as special vaccination days in schools and madressahs. Besides this, the last week of October and November will be dedicated to vaccination, he added.
Last month, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had decided to start 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 administered the Pfizer vaccine.
People below the age of 18 will have to provide their B-form number for registration in the National Immunisation Management System, the NCOC statement had said.