In The Face Of Viral Outbreak, Bangladesh’s Government Is Vaccinating Rohingya Refugees

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh’s government and humanitarian groups began vaccinating Rohingya refugees on Tuesday, as a virus outbreak raises health concerns in the huge, overcrowded camps where more than 1 million Myanmar refugees have sought sanctuary.

The highly transmissible delta form is causing an infection outbreak in Bangladesh, with about 20,000 illnesses and 200 fatalities reported so far in Cox’s Bazar district, which borders Myanmar and is home to the refugee camps.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a nationwide positive rate of about 30% suggests that COVID-19 is spreading considerably faster, especially given the tight conditions and hazards that many individuals living in refugee camps confront.

Along with Bangladesh’s national vaccination initiative, the government’s Civil Surgeon’s office in Cox’s Bazar and humanitarian groups started a vaccination campaign in 34 camps.

According to a statement from the international organization, some 500 Bangladesh Red Crescent personnel and volunteers joined the health professionals for the campaign, which was organized in conjunction with the United Nations Refugee Agency.

The first group to be vaccinated includes Rohingya community leaders, front-line health care workers in the camps, and Rohingya over the age of 55. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said in an email to The Associated Press that over 65,000 of the roughly 900,000 refugees would get vaccinated in the first cohort.

“COVID-19 has made its way throughout the globe. As he waited for vaccinations with hundreds of other refugees in a camp at Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar, Nurul Islam, 65, said, “We came here to get vaccinated for our protection so that it would not hurt us.”

Since the epidemic began, Bangladesh has recorded more than 1.3 million illnesses, with 22,897 fatalities due to COVID-19.

According to experts, the true death toll may be underestimated because many individuals do not go to hospitals, and many more died before being tested. Infections from the delta variety have spread over the country’s wide border regions with India, raising fears that a lack of understanding about masks and other health standards might lead to a worsening COVID-19 scenario in the densely populated nation.

Only around 5% of the 160 million individuals in the nation are properly immunized. The original campaign was halted in April when India halted exports of AstraZeneca vaccines to Bangladesh, which had signed a 30-million-dose purchase deal.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s administration increased its efforts to obtain vaccines from other countries, notably China, and launched a new round of immunizations across the country last weekend.

The country currently has a strong supply of vaccines, primarily from Sinopharm in China. Over 3 million individuals were reportedly shot in the first two days of the new campaign, according to officials.

In 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims left Myanmar’s Buddhist-majority country after a brutal military crackdown against the ethnic community followed an insurgent attack. Following previous rounds of persecution, other Rohingya have sought sanctuary in Bangladeshi refugee camps.

lgnews-Face-Of-Viral-Outbreak.22Rapes, murders, and the torching of thousands of homes were all part of the 2017 crackdown, which was dubbed ethnic cleansing by international human rights organizations and the United Nations. While Bangladesh and Myanmar have attempted to organize repatriations, the Rohingya have expressed their unwillingness to return home.

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