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World Vision calls for equitable access to vaccines amongst refugees

Written by on June 19, 2021

According to the report released by aid agency World Vision this week, refugees and internally displaced people are some of those who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 yet are the lowest priority group when it comes to vaccination.

This report was conducted amongst eight countries including Uganda and warns that COVID-19 is now surging in lower-income countries that do not have the resources needed to contain the virus and protect their own populations.

Despite the willingness refugees have to take the vaccine once availed to them, only one refugee out of 1,914 surveyed in Uganda, Brazil, Colombia, DRC, Jordan, Peru, Turkey and Venezuela had received a COVID-19 vaccine.

It is against this that the Refugee Response Director at World Vision Uganda, Mary Njeri called for prioritisation of refugees in the COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in the country.

“With less 1% of Ugandans vaccinated, it is a challenge to reach the refugees, but extra effort must be made to prioritize the refugees because they face the highest risk from COVID-19 especially given the confirmed space they live in and the communal facilities they share,” said Njeri.

Njeri added that refugees are part of the world’s most vulnerable catastrophically impacted by COVID-19 thus calling for immediate action and commitment to protect them from the virus, and should be given the opportunity to recover and rebuild their lives since they are survivors.

On Thursday June 17 the National Medical Stores (NMS) received 175,200 COVID-19 vaccines, Uganda’s third batch of doses donated by the French government.

The distribution of these doses commenced yesterday on Friday however, with main focus put on most hit COVID-19 districts of Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Lira and Mbale as revealed by the NMS spokesperson, Sheila Nduhukire.

Last week at the G7, world leaders pledged to donate one billion COVID-19 vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable. World Vision is calling on donor governments to ensure that this pledge turns into a reality and to secure equitable access to the vaccine for forcibly displaced people as a priority.

“No one will be safe until everyone is safe. There will be no global recovery without inclusive, fair, and equitable access to vaccines, diagnostic equipment, and medicine,” Njeri concluded.

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