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Myanmar Factory Workers Forced to Choose Between Chinese Vaccines And Pink Slips


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Despite concerns about potential adverse effects from the treatment, factory workers in Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, are being forced to choose between bonuses for receiving Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines or pink slips, according to labour groups.


Authorities have been providing monetary awards to manufacturing workers who acquire the Sinopharm vaccine, while others have threatened to dismiss those who reject, according to Thet Thet Aung, a labour official with the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society rights group.


She claimed that while some factory workers were not pressured to be vaccinated, the majority were “forced” to do so.

 

“Most workers are afraid to get vaccinated... because they haven't been provided any information regarding the vaccine,” she explained.


“However, the manufacturer threatened to terminate them if they did not get vaccinated.
This is a common occurrence at many factories.”


Workers at one facility were invited to be vaccinated without any pressure, according to Thet Thet Aung, but it has now "become mandatory."


“You will be fired if you reject.
That's how things are,” she explained.

 

“The workers are now debating who will be held accountable if something goes wrong after they receive the vaccine.
Officials from the factory claimed it was not their fault.
There are certain factories where workers are not subjected to this kind of pressure.
But there are just a few.”


The workers are refusing to be vaccinated, she claims, since the factory has refused to provide them a leave of absence if they feel unwell as a result of the vaccination.

 

In July and August, China supplied millions of doses of its Sinopharm vaccine to Myanmar, which is dealing with a third COVID-19 outbreak that has killed 6,241 people and infected roughly 98,000 in the last month.
Since the start of the pandemic, officials claim at least 15,183 people have died and 392,300 have been infected, but insiders suggest the figures are likely considerably higher.

 

When Myanmar's military seized power in a coup d'état on February 1, efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus were severely hampered.
Due to a poorly handled reaction to a third wave of COVID-19, which has killed over 8,600 people in the last month alone, the country's healthcare system is now on the verge of collapse.


The country's public hospitals are at capacity, and all save the most dangerously ill have been turned away.
Other patients are being forced to seek care at home due to a lack of basic medical supplies, such as oxygen supplies, which are critical in preventing hypoxia, which occurs when oxygen fails to reach bodily tissues.

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