The Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) has started vaccination efforts in its territory by giving jabs to around 1,000 civilians around the armed group’s headquarters in Wanhai, Shan State, a spokesperson said on Thursday.
Maj Sai Phone Harn said that the SSPP plans to distribute oxygen concentrators and vaccinate as many as 500,000 people. He added that the plan depends on the availability of the vaccines, which were made in China. At the time of reporting, Myanmar Now was unable to confirm the brand of the vaccines.
“We’ve already [vaccinated] the elderly within our headquarters and other elderly people within our reach,” the spokesperson said.
He said that the armed group increased its Covid-19 prevention efforts amid the third wave of the pandemic.
The SSPP-controlled areas where vaccines could be distributed include Mong Hsu, Kesi, Tangyan and Hsipaw townships, in addition to parts of Lashio, Kyaukme, Hsenwi, Muse and Namkham.
“The vaccines are mostly made in China. We’re planning to import oxygen concentrators from Thailand. We’re still trying though. We still can’t say which we will be doing first,” the major said.
The SSPP has raised 100 million kyat (more than US$60,000) for the initiative, and said that they would increase the budget if needed.
The Shan ethnic armed organisation is a member of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC), which is made up of seven groups who did not sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the National League for Democracy government and the military. The FPNCC operates under the leadership of the United Wa State Army (UWSA)
Other FPNCC members operating along the Myanmar-China border, including the UWSA, the National Democratic Alliance Army in Mongla, and the Kachin Independence Army, have also implemented vaccination schemes with jabs made in China.