UN working with Egypt to vaccinate migrants and refugees against COVID-19

Lamis ElSharqawy, Thursday 28 Jan 2021

The UN spokesman described the Egyptian COVID-19 vaccination campaign as ‘one of the largest among Arab States’

A healthcare worker carries the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the University Hospital.

The United Nations is working with Egypt to include migrants and refugees in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan, with priority given to frontline workers and other vulnerable groups, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the secretary-general of the UN.

According to the UN, migrants and refugees are among the social groups most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, as they are at the forefront of the pandemic, providing essential services and ensuring the continuity of supply chains across the Arab region.

The UN spokesman described the Egyptian COVID-19 vaccination campaign as ‘one of the largest among Arab States,’ he stated in a press briefing on Wednesday.

Egypt has already started its ‘massive’ vaccination campaign this week with technical support from UN experts, said Dujarric. The UN conducted a risk assessment as part of the COVAX programme’s requirements, he added.

COVAX is co-led by GAVI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the WHO in partnership with the European Union, to assist African and Asian countries in acquiring the vaccine.

Dujarric stated that the UN team also coordinated with Egypt in terms of procurement and distribution of vaccines, as well as supply-chain management and healthcare waste management.

Moreover, Dujarric said that the UN is working with Egypt on a ‘communication strategy and community engagement’ in order to curb the spread of the virus and misinformation accompanying it and ensure widespread public vaccination.

Egypt began inoculating medical staff on Sunday as a priority group, as the government is prioritising the medical teams at the isolation, fever, chest, and screening hospitals; followed by kidney failure and cancer patients; then the elderly, as they are at a higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19.

The vaccination roll-out would see each person receiving two shots administered 21 days apart.

Egypt detected 632 new COVID-19 cases and 48 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total infections toll in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic last year to 163,761 and the death toll from the virus to 9,115.

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