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Military spearheads vaccination drive in Mannar

The Sri Lankan military spearheaded the vaccination drive in Mannar, in what was another manifestation of the militarisation of civil society in the island. 

The programme to administer the second dose of Pfizer vaccine in the district commenced on Friday, with centres located in Mannar Hindu College and St. Mary’s School. 

The Department of Health Services and the Public Health Department coordinated to administer the vaccinations as the troops supervised them and recorded the details of those who arrived to take the jab. 

The latest drive follows the first round of vaccination that took place last month. 

Over the past few weeks, there has been mounting criticism of the Sri Lankan government’s handling of the pandemic and in particular the poorly managed vaccine rollout. 

Despite ongoing criticism of their involvement in public sector affairs, Sri Lankan army officers continue to be deployed across vaccination centres as military occupation in the North-East continues to be normalised. 

Many human rights advocates have voiced concern over Sri Lanka's militarised response to the coronavirus pandemic, that state forces have used the virus as a guise to target, harass and surveil Tamil communities. 

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