ISSN 2330-717X

Myanmar: Journalists Not On Current Vaccine Eligibility List In Arakan State

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About 100,000 people in Arakan State will be inoculated with the recently shipped Covid-19 vaccine donated by China, but there are no plans to vaccinate journalists with that supply, the Arakan State Administration Council said on July 31. 

The vaccine will be given to people over the age of 65,  as well as monks, bank employees, civil servants and volunteers working to combat Covid-19, said U Hla Thein, information officer for the Arakan State Administration Council. 

“There are five classes of people who are currently [eligible to be] vaccinated. There are currently no plans to vaccinate journalists. There is a shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, so it is being given to those who should be given priority,” he explained. 

During the first and second waves of Covid-19 in Arakan State, eligible individuals were inoculated with vaccines donated by India and China, said Dr. Soe Win Paing, assistant director of the Arakan State Department of Public Health (DPH). 

“There are more than 180,000 virus vaccines donated by India. Only 4,000 people have been vaccinated against the virus by the vaccine donated by China,” he told DMG. “We are currently vaccinating just over 1,000 people [per day]. More than 3,000 virus vaccines are designated to be given to educators.” 

Up to four people who are fully vaccinated have since tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Arakan State DPH. These so-called breakthrough infections are being reported as a fraction of a percentage of the vaccinated population globally, and health experts stress that even in such cases, the likelihood of severe illness requiring hospitalisation is extremely rare. 

“Journalists should be vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccine as they are in constant contact with the public. This is because journalists have to be on the ground, they cannot sit at home to cover important news,” said Ko Aung Toe, a freelance reporter in Arakan State. 

U Hla Thein told DMG yesterday that he would consider vaccinating journalists if more Covid-19 vaccines arrive in Arakan State. 

As of July 31, a total of 2,808 cases and 193 deaths were reported in Arakan State during the pandemic’s ongoing third wave, according to the state DPH.

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DMG

Development Media Group (DMG) was founded on the Thai-Myanmar border on January 9, 2012, in accordance with the current requirements of Arakan (Rakhine) State, by both residents inside the country, and former residents now in exile, who see value in meaningful quality media and applying news media as a powerful resource for regional stability, peace-making, and holistic and sustainable development.

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