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Hundreds hold rare protest in Bahrain after prisoner’s death

10 June, 2021
Hundreds in Bahrain have protested over the death of 48-year-old prisoner Husain Barakat, who died of coronavirus despite reportedly receiving two shots of of the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm.

Hundreds have held a rare protest in Bahrain over the death of a vaccinated prisoner from the coronavirus held by the island kingdom.

The demonstration Wednesday night saw protesters march in the streets of the village of Diah over the death earlier in the day of Husain Barakat.

Videos of the protest, which corresponded to Associated Press reporting on the demonstrations, saw those marching shout that they held King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa responsible for Barakat’s death.

An Interior Ministry statement said Barakat, 48, had been on a respirator in recent days and died at a hospital. The ministry said Barakat had received an unnamed two-shot vaccination for the virus.

The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said Barakat had received the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm.

Bahrain, like the nearby United Arab Emirates, relied heavily on Sinopharm in their world-record per-capita vaccination campaigns, but now are offering booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine. There have been reports of low antibody responses in the UAE, which saw that country announce in May it would offer boosters six months after a Sinopharm two-shot vaccination.

The two shots use different technologies. The Pfizer shots, a so-called “mRNA vaccine,” contain a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognise the spiked protein on the surface of the virus. The Sinopharm vaccine is an “inactivated” shot made by growing the whole virus in a lab and then killing it.

Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, is now struggling through its worst wave of the virus. It’s in the midst of a weekslong lockdown and daily case numbers have dropped recently. The island, home to 1.6 million people, has seen over 253,000 reported cases and 1,160 deaths.

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