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ASEAN Decides to Send Doctors to Administer Covid-19 Vaccines in Myanmar

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PHNOM PENH: The Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar, Deputy Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, said that ASEAN has decided to assign the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management to work with the Myanmar Ministry of Health in a national Covid-19 vaccine campaign. This collaboration will use a 50 out of 50 model, which means that medical staff from ASEAN countries and organizations will send half a team of doctors for the vaccination campaign, while the other half will comprise of doctors from Myanmar.

Speaking at a press conference on the afternoon of Friday, 6 April 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn confirmed that the decision was to boost vaccination efforts in Myanmar and to make sure that the Myanmar people, especially those in need and living in remote areas, have access to vaccines. He attributed ASEAN’s decision to launch this campaign to a lack of medical staff and security concerns in the country, which made many members of the public not feel comfortable going to places where vaccines were offered.

He said, "To solve the problem, we have proposed the 50/50 model, which is that 50% of medical staff will be provided by donor countries or organizations, and the other 50% will be from the Myanmar Ministry of Health.”

He added that in addition, the AHA center will check the locations of Covid-19 vaccination sites and recommend potential donors and partners to support vaccinations in Myanmar. Vaccination under this condition will be jointly overseen by ASEAN and the Ministry of Health of Myanmar.

In addition, Myanmar needs to waive tariffs and work toward other facilitations that could bring vaccines into Myanmar, as well as to facilitate access to vaccinations in areas under the control of ethnic armed groups.

To provide ASEAN humanitarian assistance to Myanmar, ASEAN Dialogue Partners and UN Representatives held a full day meeting on Friday, 6 May, to seek further solutions on the implementation of the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus, and to promote effective assistance.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn, after the ASEAN Member Meeting, dialogue partners and donors expressed firm commitment to pushing this work forward.

The ASEAN Five-Point Consensus includes the call for an end to violence, the establishment of multilateral dialogue, the acceptance of the coordination of the ASEAN Special Envoy, the provision of humanitarian assistance and the allowance of the Special Envoy to fulfill their duties and visit Myanmar.

Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn also revealed that he will pay a second visit to Myanmar in the coming weeks.

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