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Myanmar Orders 30 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses From India

By Zaw Zaw Htwe THE IRRAWADDY Fri, January 8, 2021

YANGON– Myanmar has ordered 30 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from India that are due to arrive by February, according to the President’s Office on Friday.

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is producing the COVID-19 vaccine, called Covishield, that was developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

U Zaw Htay, the President’s Office director-general, told the media that the government is planning to initially pay US$75 million (100 billion kyats), half the amount for the vaccine order.

He said the government has chosen the vaccine because it could be stored at 2-8°C, making it more suitable for Myanmar’s climate.

State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi recently said health workers on the COVID-19 frontline are the top priority to be vaccinated.

Myanmar has more than 110,000 medical staff.

The country is also trying to buy COVID-19 vaccines from the US, UK, Russia and China through diplomatic channels.

On Tuesday, Myanmar invited people and organizations to donate to the government vaccine fund.

The Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry stated that two state accounts, containing $250 million (332 billion kyats) and 1 billion kyats ($750,000), were being used to purchase the vaccines.

Anyone in Myanmar or abroad is invited to contribute in foreign currency or kyats to the accounts, the ministry added.

Following the ministry’s invitation, U Chit Khine, chairman of one of Myanmar’s biggest conglomerates, the Eden Group, donated $1.5 million (1.9 billion kyats).

Another business chief, U Zaw Zaw, chairman of the Ayeyarwady Foundation, who already contributed more than $11 million to the country’s COVID-19 measures, donated a further 2 billion kyats ($1.5 million) for vaccines.

On Thursday, Myanmar’s military donated 1 billion kyats ($753,000) for vaccines.

The Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, which was established by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, said it has earmarked a donation of 10 million kyats ($7,500) and it is accepting public donations.

The President Office’s said the government after 48 hours received 1.3 billion kyats ($980,000) from the 117 donors and $2.5 million (3.3 billion kyats) from the five donors.

On Thursday, Myanmar reported 128,772 COVID-19 cases, including 2,799 fatalities and 112,048 recoveries.

Since Dec. 19, Myanmar has seen a decline in daily COVID-19 cases. Fewer than 1,000 new cases are now being reported per day, down from a peak of more than 1,400 daily cases.

Cases have been reported in about 300 townships across the country.

SOURCE: THE IRRAWADDY, MYANMAR Fri, January 8, 2021

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