By Our Reporter
In the latest report by aid agency World Vision, refugees and internally displaced people have been pointed out to be the least prioritized humans in the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out yet they face the highest risk of contracting the deadly pandemic.
According to the report,Most refugees live in lower income countries are being left out of the extremely limited vaccination campaigns that host countries are able to muster.
The report further says that amongst the countries of lower income, only one person out of thousands surveyed by World Vision had received a COVID-19 vaccine.
The report, which was conducted amongst eight countries, including Uganda 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 identifying refugees as a priority group and targeting them as part of the national vaccine rollout, the report noted that Uganda is among the nations struggling to climb the vaccination ladder and whose health systems are now overwhelmed due to another wave of the pandemic.
With just about 800,000 of its own
citizens vaccinated, Mary Njeri, the
Refugee Response Director at World Vision Uganda says the country is still constrained to cover the 1.4 million refugees.
“With less than 1 percent of Ugandans vaccinated, it is a challenge to reach the refugees, but extra effort must be made to prioritise the refugees because they face the highest risk from COVID-19 especially given the confined space they live in and the communal facilities they share,” says Njeri.
“Almost 60 percent of the refugees in Uganda are children. Many have been separated from family and are at risk of violations including child trafficking, forced labour, and forced marriage. We must act now
and commit to protect them, and the equitable distribution of vaccines is one way to protect these vulnerable children,” she adds.
With higher income countries vaccinating their populations 25 times faster than nations with lowest incomes, World Vision says they must now secure the same protection for the world’s most vulnerable.
“The COVID-19 vaccine race has exposed an ever-growing health gap between the world’s ‘haves’
and ‘have nots,’” the report says.
It’s upon the basis that world leaders have pledged to donate one billion COVID-19 vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable and 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,” says Mary.