Ensure fair vaccine access to all -Amnesty

Amnesty International says governments in South Asia must ensure that vulnerable groups are not excluded from access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director Yamini Mishra said in Sri Lanka, limited communication around dates, venues and eligibility for vaccines is a barrier for people to access vaccinations.

The report said there is no information available about the plan for COVID-19 vaccines and immunizing the broader population in some countries such as Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Amnesty International also called on the international community to enable the production of vaccines at the national-level to address the severe shortfall in supply across the region.

As vaccination programmes have commenced across South Asia, groups including slum dwellers, minorities, workers including labourers, daily wage earners, sanitation workers, garment workers and tea plantation workers, people in rural areas, prisoners, and internally displaced people have so far been denied access due to a lack of awareness and limited access to technology in most places.

Amnesty International added others including refugees and migrants have been excluded entirely from government vaccine campaigns in many countries up to now.

With vaccines in short supply, the report said most countries in South Asia have not inoculated more than six percent of their population with even a first dose.

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