Sri Lankan security forces oversaw and facilitated the administration of COVID-19 vaccines to locals in Mullaitivu and Mannar over the past week.
In Mullaitivu, vaccinations was made available to residents over the age of 30, with the rollout initiated under the surveillance of Sri Lankan army officers.
In July, the vaccination drive focused on individuals over 60 and according to the District Regional Health Services 42,254 people had been vaccinated as of Aug 4, with an estimated 50,000 vaccines distributed to the district.
On Friday, the second phase of the Pfizer vaccination campaign was launched in Mannar under the surveillance of Sri Lankan army and Air Force.
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.