Millions of US vaccine doses heading to Myanmar refugees in Thailand: report

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks Oct. 27 at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. Photo: U.S. Dept. of State
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks Oct. 27 at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. Photo: U.S. Dept. of State

Plans are being made to ship millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine to the Thai-Myanmar border, where refugee populations have swollen since the February coup d’etat.

A week after top American diplomat Anthony Blinken said Washington struck a deal to ship excess stock of the one-dose vaccine to conflict areas, one of the first areas targeted are those living in persistent refugee camps that have operated for decades and recently grew as thousands fled Myanmar.

“We need to ensure that people who cannot be reached by government vaccination campaigns aren’t left out of our efforts,” Blinken told reporters on Nov. 10. “They need to be protected, too.”

Distribution of the doses will be managed by COVAX, an international system to direct COVID-19 vaccine resources. 

No date was given for the vaccines to arrive.

COVAX earlier this week announced the first such humanitarian shipment of 1.6 million doses for Afghan refugees in Iran.

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