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Myanmar: Sailors seek early COVID-19 vaccinations

Sailors seek early COVID-19 vaccinations
Tint Zaw Tun Dec 3 2020

Seafarers have asked State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to designate them as essential workers so they will have priority for the COVID-19 vaccine, said U Soe Min Aung, chair of the Myanmar Seamen’s Federation.

“Seamen contribute around US$600 million in foreign currency to the country. Although healthcare workers are essential and should have priority for the vaccine, seamen have to work overseas, so we ask for first, second or third priority, even if we have to pay for the vaccine,” he said.

The International Labour Organization and International Maritime Organization regard seamen as essential workers, so we should have priority for the vaccine, the federation said in a letter to the state counsellor.

People with high risk of contracting the virus like healthcare workers, the elderly, and those in virus hotspots will have priority in receiving the vaccine. Depending on how much vaccine is delivered to Myanmar, other groups will also have priority, U Myint Htwe, minister of Health and Sports, said on November 25.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance will try to secure enough vaccine to cover 20 percent of Myanmar’s population for a special price or for free via the COVAX Facility. Myanmar plans to submit an application to Gavi on December 7, he added. - Translated