Bangladesh Begins COVID Vaccination for Rohingya Refugees

Dhaka, MINA – The government of Bangladesh and aid agencies have started vaccinating Rohingya refugees against coronavirus as a surge in cases raises health concerns in the sprawling, cramped camps where more than one million people who fled Myanmar are sheltering.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said a national positivity rate of about 30 percent indicates the spread of COVID-19 is much higher, especially given the sheer number of people living in these camps, Al Jazeera reported.

The government’s Civil Surgeon’s office in Cox’s Bazar and aid agencies began the vaccination campaign on Tuesday across 34 camps alongside Bangladesh’s national vaccination effort.

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About 500 Bangladesh Red Crescent staff and volunteers joined the health workers for the campaign in collaboration with the UN refugee agency, according to a statement from the international body.

Rohingya community leaders, front line healthcare volunteers in the camps, and Rohingya older than 55 are in the first group to be vaccinated.

The highly transmissible Delta variant is driving an infection surge across Bangladesh, with about 20,000 infections and 200 deaths recorded so far in Cox’s Bazar district, the southern region bordering Myanmar where the 34 refugee camps are located.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees said, more than 65,000 of the nearly 900,000 refugees will be vaccinated in the first cohort.

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Bangladesh has reported more than 1.3 million infections, including 22,897 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. (R/R6/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)