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Too many obstacles for vaccinating refugees: UNHCR

Too many barriers still prevent refugees from being vaccinated against Covid-19, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said, adding that only a small portion of the 82.4 million displaced individuals have received jabs till date.

Updated Jun 25, 2021 07:48 AM

Too many obstacles for vaccinating refugees: UNHCR

"Around the world, we have seen an unwavering commitment to not leave refugees behind in COVID-19 vaccination planning. But barriers to vaccination persist," Ann Burton, Chief of UNHCR Public Health Section, said on Thursday.

The Geneva-based Agency reported several types of obstacles, including vaccination centres located too far and registering systems too complicated to use or in languages that were not understood by refugees.

In some countries, vaccination required identity documents that were not possessed by many refugees and asylum-seekers.

In others, costs of vaccines were too high for refugees, affecting fair access to Covid-19 vaccines.

Lack of information, or even misinformation in some cases, created even more issues to vaccinate displaced people.

The UN agency saluted the efforts of some countries, notably Serbia, which brought vaccines directly in asylum centres and completed vaccination for refugees living in private housing.

The UNHCR hoped that more effort will be done to vaccinate 20 per cent of global refugees as it is an objective of the COVAX Facility, a WHO-led initiative aimed at providing more equitable access to vaccines for low- and middle-income countries.

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