The International Organization for Migration is supporting the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Yemen and said it welcomes the government's decision to also immunize migrants.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is supporting the UN's COVID-19 vaccination program in Yemen, where cases have recently surged.
In a statement, IOM said it is providing vaccinations at five health centers in Aden, Ma'rib, Shabwah, Taiz and Lahj, and it welcomed the government's decision to also immunize vulnerable populations such as migrants.
Infections continue in country
Yemen received 360,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses through the COVAX facility on March 31, and the vaccination campaign began on 20 April.
COVID-19 has had severe consequences for the health, well-being and income of people in Yemen. The monthly rate of positive COVID-19 cases reached over 2,400 in March, which was the highest confirmed in one month since the start of the pandemic.
In April, the case rate continued to be higher than in previous months with more than 1,500 cases. As of early May, the case fatality rate reached over 19% - the highest in the region.
Aiming for herd immunity
"Achieving wide-reaching immunity is vital to stopping the COVID-19 pandemic in its tracks," said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission.
Rottensteiner added: "It is extremely important that all vulnerable communities in Yemen have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. IOM welcomes the government of Yemen's decision to take an inclusive approach to the vaccine roll-out by including migrants in need. Our communities will not be healthy until everyone is healthy."
Over 32,000 migrants stranded in country
So far, over 18,500 health workers and people with medical conditions have been vaccinated across Yemen. In the next rounds of the vaccination campaign, migrants are expected to be included as per the national plan.
IOM estimates that more than 32,000 migrants are currently stranded across Yemen, with limited access to health care, hygiene or other COVID-19 prevention and treatment resources.
For greater effectiveness of vaccination campaigns across the world, IOM is calling for the removal of any barriers that migrants and forcibly displaced persons may face in accessing the jab.