At its Migrant Response Points in Aden and Ma’rib, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has started a COVID-19 vaccination program for migrants stuck in Yemen, with the goal of inoculating roughly 7,500 people. IOM continues to push for increased vaccination efforts for people on the move in order to safeguard vulnerable groups.
“We applaud the government’s commitment to protecting migrants from COVID-19, and immunizing persons on the move is critical to preventing the disease’s spread,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM’s Chief of Mission. “There are still insufficient dosages to protect all of Yemen’s citizens from this disease.” More foreign assistance in supplying the country with enough immunizations will save lives.”
COVID-19 has had devastating effects on Yemeni people’s health, well-being, and income. More than 10,000 cases had been documented as of December 12th, but the exact impact is difficult to determine due to limited testing and reporting across the country.
The Organization has been assisting the Ministry of Health’s efforts to vaccinate at-risk and hard-to-reach people since April. They included health professionals, persons with chronic illnesses, and the elderly, who were vaccinated at IOM-supported health centers in the governorates of Aden, Ma’rib, and Ta’iz.
“Last year, one of my cousins died from COVID-19,” said Naima Mohammed, an Ethiopian migrant who received the vaccine in Aden. I’ve returned to the Migrant Response Point several times since then to learn how to avoid acquiring the illness, such as handwashing and wearing a mask. I’m better protected now that I’ve been vaccinated.”
Yemen’s health system has been devastated by seven years of fighting, and it was already in jeopardy before the virus arrived. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world’s poorest people, who lack access to health care, clean water, and sanitation.
COVID-19-related movement restrictions have stranded an estimated 36,000 refugees on their trips, with roughly 3,500 in Ma’rib. Many people are sleeping on the streets or in overcrowded, filthy places where the illness might readily spread.
“In regions like Ma’rib, where persistent violence continues to degrade health facilities and impair the supply chain for pharmaceuticals, vaccination against COVID-19 is even more critical,” Rottensteiner added.
IOM has been conducting vaccine awareness sessions among migrants for the past three months in order to dispel vaccine myths and distribute accurate facts. Migrants who have been vaccinated will be given immunization documents, which will make it easier for them to get health care.