Vaccinating vulnerable refugees could drag on to 2022: UN

Geneva, March 18 (AFP/APP): The UN said Thursday that vaccinating some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees could drag on beyond 2022 due to the slow roll-out of Covid-19 jabs in host countries.

UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, said many urban refugees were driven into a downward spiral of poverty last year by the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile the capacity for dealing with Covid-19 among refugees in rural areas was very limited.

The UNHCR is seeking $455 million (382 million euros) to tackle the additional problems posed in protecting refugees from the effects of the pandemic. “Now the struggle is for vaccines,” Sajjad Malik, UNHCR’s resilience and solutions director, told reporters. “2021 is the beginning but it may very much go into 2022 and beyond because the vaccine is trickling down very slowly into these countries.”

There are around 80 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, according to UNHCR’s latest statistics. These include 45.7 million internally displaced people, 26.3 million refugees and 4.2 million asylum seekers.

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