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COVID-19 vaccination of vulnerable displaced persons begins in Thailand

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Thai Red Cross health worker prepares vaccine injection during vaccination campaign on 25 October in Tham Hin Temporary Shelter © UNHCR/ Morgane Roussel Hemery

Press Release – Bangkok, 26 October 2021

On 25 and 26 October, 1,295 displaced persons in Ban Tham Hin Temporary Shelter in Suan Phueng District, Ratchaburi, received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines, thanks to the effort of Thai Red Cross and its network partners. Administration of second dose is scheduled for November 2021.

The pilot vaccination in Tham Hin camp by the Thai Red Cross is a vivid testimony of Thailand’s firm commitment to the principle of inclusivity without leaving anyone behind”, stated Giuseppe de Vincentiis, UNHCR representative while welcoming the commencement vaccination of vulnerable displaced persons in Thailand. The vaccination rollout was marked with launching event, presided by Dr. Apichart Chinwanno, Assistant Secretary General for Externals Relations of Thai Red Cross Society with participation of the governor of Ratchaburi, Mr. Ronnapop Luengpairote; Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Interior Ministry, representatives from UNHCR, Thai Red Cross Society (TRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

The Tham Hin campaign targets priority populations: individuals with chronic illness, with disabilities, elderly, and women with more than 12 weeks of pregnancy. Volunteers and health professionals jointly conduct vaccination. Htoo Htoo, an IRC volunteer, shared how thrilled he is to be part of this activity made possible thanks to close cooperation between TRC, Ministry of Interior, Ratchaburi province, Suan Pheung Hospital, IRC, and UNHCR. “I am also going to get vaccinated, and I am a bit nervous too”, said Htoo Htoo. “Still, I am hopeful vaccination will alleviate the challenges brought by COVID-19 for residents of temporary shelter”. Although COVID-19 impacts everyone, refugees and asylum-seekers can be particularly vulnerable due to challenges they may face in meeting basic needs, accessing information about COVID-19 and obtaining hygiene items or medical support.

This pilot vaccination programme by the Thai Red Cross further builds on previous pilot projects launched by the Chulabhorn Royal Academy (CRA). During September-August, the CRA implemented a pilot vaccination programme which has benefitted 374 urban refugees. CRA has also allocated 20,000 doses for up to 10,000 refugees with already over 4,000 refugees having received first dose of vaccine in Mae La temporary shelter.

UNHCR appreciates the generosity of Thailand in helping the most vulnerable have access to vaccines and continues to endeavour to engage all displaced communities in awareness-raising efforts to the furthest extent possible by integrating COVID-19 risk communication messages into its ongoing outreach activities, ensuring that materials and messages are shared in a culturally appropriate manner way and in relevant languages.

[FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:]

Morgane Roussel-Hemery, Associate External Relation Officer

UNHCR MCO Thailand

+66 81-140-4353

rousselh@unhcr.org