Myanmar Junta Vaccinating Prisoners Against COVID-19

By The Irrawaddy 6 August 2021

Myanmar’s military regime has been inoculating inmates in prisons and labor camps against COVID-19 and 6,260 people had been vaccinated by Tuesday, according to junta-controlled newspapers.

The regime has received 3 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines and has been inoculating inmates since July 28.

According to the Correctional Department, 5,042 prisoners from 13 jails and 1,218 labor camp inmates received jabs between July 28 and August 3.

COVID-19 outbreaks were reported in Myanmar’s prisons after the country was hit by a fresh wave of coronavirus in June followed by soaring death tolls in July.

By July 26, 566 prisoners were infected with coronavirus, resulting in nine deaths, said the regime.

U Nyan Win, a central executive committee member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s long-time lawyer, died of COVID-19 on July 20 in Insein Prison.

Another senior NLD leader, U Han Thar Myint, and well-known military critic Shwe Nya War Sayadaw were infected with COVID-19 in Insein and sent to Yangon General Hospital.

Inmates in Insein, where thousands of political prisoners are being held for anti-regime activities, protested on July 23, complaining about overcrowding, COVID-19 infections, the lack of protection and inadequate treatment.

Myanmar officially recorded 319,250 COVID-19 cases with 10,988 deaths between Thursday and March last year, according to the junta-controlled Ministry of Health and Sports.

An estimated 3,216 people died between March 2020 and late May 2021. Since then, Myanmar’s COVID-19 death toll has more than doubled. The junta is also accused of heavily underestimating the fatalities.

Charities and volunteers in Yangon say thousands died per day in July.

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