UNHCR COVID-19 Preparedness and Response
UNHCR and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 03 February 2020, with the overall goal of ensuring refugees and other forcibly displaced can access vaccines on par with nationals. The MoU also looks at expanding coverage and quality of immunization services, promoting equity in access and uptake of vaccines, and strengthening health systems at community and primary care level.
Jordan has become one of the world’s first countries to start COVID-19 vaccinations for refugees, including vaccinations in Za’atari refugee camp on 15 February. UNHCR has been working with the Jordanian government to vaccinate refugees and provide critical health, sanitation, hygiene and logistical support. UNHCR appeals to all countries to follow suit and include refugees in their national vaccination drives in line with COVAX allocation principles.
In 2020, 39.4 million persons of concern received COVID-19 assistance including access to protection services, shelter, health, and education. This includes over 8.5 million individuals who received cash assistance.
Despite an estimated 1.44 million refugees in urgent need of resettlement globally, less than 23,000 were resettled through UNHCR last year. These are the lowest refugee resettlement numbers UNHCR has witnessed in almost two decades. The drop stems from low quotas put forward by states, as well as the impact of COVID-19, which delayed departures and programmes.