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Bangladesh to launch COVID vaccine campaign for Rohingya

Refugees aged 55 or above will get vaccinated initially in August in arrangement similar to that for local citizens

SM Najmus Sakib   | 28.07.2021
Bangladesh to launch COVID vaccine campaign for Rohingya

DHAKA, Bangladesh 

Bangladesh will launch a COVID-19 vaccination campaign for Rohingya in the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar district amid calls for vaccinating the persecuted people.

Rohingya refugees aged 55 and above will get vaccinated initially, and the age limit will gradually be lowered with the arrival of more vaccines from various sources, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen told reporters in Dhaka late Tuesday.

“The refugees will get vaccinated in a similar arrangement and with the same type of vaccines for Bangladeshi citizens of Cox’s Bazar, and there will be no discrimination between local people and Rohingya,” said Momen.

The decision was made in a meeting with the Health Ministry to ensure the health safety of the refugees, he added.

There is regular communication between the refugees and the host community, so it is important to vaccinate the Rohingya to ensure the safety of the locals, he continued.

Momen said the government will cover the vaccination of the refugees from “what we have [vaccines for its citizens], and no discrimination will be made in this case.”

He noted, however, that there are some difficulties in preserving vaccines they get through the COVAX facility, with Chinese Sinopharm vaccines easier to maintain under cold chain management.

Earlier, the government said it would start vaccinating around 50,000 refugees with the number of infections rising across Bangladesh.

Amid the alarming spike nationwide in the virus with the presence of the Delta variant, the number of Rohingya deaths in the world's largest refugee settlements have risen to 27 and overall infections to 2,355.

Bangladesh is currently home to nearly 1.2 million stateless Rohingya Muslims who fled a brutal military crackdown in Rakhine state in their home country of Myanmar in August 2017.

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