Volunteers carry the body of a COVID-19 victim from her home to the cemetery in Katha, Sagaing Region on July 16, 2021.
Myanmar will receive more than 6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from a global health partnership that is helping the world’s most vulnerable populations get vaccinated, after seeing a delay in shipping of the vaccines the country was initially promised through the initiative.
The country’s Health Ministry said on Wednesday that it held a series of meetings with representatives from GAVI and its partners WHO and UNICEF from late July through late August on providing vaccines. GAVI is a private-public global health alliance that aims to increase access to immunization in poor countries.
The ministry said GAVI would provide more than 4 millions doses of the Pfizer vaccine, while UNICEF will support the ultra cold chain system that is essential to keep the vaccine at the recommended storage temperature of as low as -70°C. It will also provide more than 2.2 million doses of the Chinese vaccine Sinovac.
Myanmar has been hit hard by a third wave of COVID-19. In July alone, a total of 6,000 people died from the disease, mostly due to the regime’s mismanagement. The country reported its first case of coronavirus in late March last year. As of Wednesday, Myanmar had reported 473,025 positive cases and 17,988 deaths.
Myanmar’s ousted Daw Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) government started to purchase vaccines in late 2020 and launched a nationwide vaccination program in January 2021. It also reached out to COVAX, a UN-backed initiative that is co-led by GAVI, to get 27 million doses, which were scheduled to arrive starting from March. Then, the coup in February threw everything into disarray, including vaccinations and the shipment from COVAX.
Following the coup, the regime intermittently resumed immunization and geared up in August with vaccines donated and purchased from China, vowing that half of the country’s more than 55 million population would be jabbed by the end of this year. As of Monday, the regime said, 3.92 million people had been fully vaccinated.
Source: The Irrawaddy