From file: Syrian refugee kids at Zaatari camp in Jordan, February 2016 | Photo: Reuters/Muhammad Hamed
From file: Syrian refugee kids at Zaatari camp in Jordan, February 2016 | Photo: Reuters/Muhammad Hamed

Jordan has launched a comprehensive COVID-19 vaccination program for refugees and asylum seekers. It is one of the first countries in the world to address the particular risk situation of refugees.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR in Geneva sang the praise of the Jordanian health authorities for including migrants and refugees in their initial vaccination run. 

The Jordanian national COVID-19 vaccination plan began this week. Anyone living on Jordanian soil, including refugees and asylum seekers, is eligible to receive the vaccine free of charge, according to UNHCR.

Jordan is trying to encourage people to get vaccinated; Jordanian King Abdullah II was vaccinated against COVID19 earlier in the week, as was his son, Crown Prince al-Hussein.


Leading by example

Only half of 78 countries around the world that have launched nationwide vaccination programs have explicitly included refugees in their strategies, the UNHCR said.

Jordan hosts a refugee population of about 700,000, with a national population of ten million.

Read more: Coronavirus in Jordan: Hotline provides information for refugees

More work needed in poorer countries

The UNHCR added that thanks to protection measures, fewer than 2,000 people were infected with COVID-19 in the country's refugee camps.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi called upon the international community to "do more to ensure all host governments get vaccines" made available for refugees, highlighting that most refugees worldwide lived in host countries "with low and middle-income."

Read more: Coronavirus: How are Middle East refugee camps prepared?

With dpa

 

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