The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, applauded Pakistan’s attempts to vaccinate Afghan refugees as part of its COVID-19 vaccination program on Tuesday. UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan, Noriko Yoshida issued a statement acknowledging Pakistan’s efforts. She said, “It’s very important that Pakistan has taken this positive step of including refugees in its vaccination efforts. The virus doesn’t recognize whether a person is a refugee or a citizen. It poses an equal threat for all. Nobody is safe until we are all safe.”
Furthermore, Afghan refugees who meet the requirements for obtaining a vaccine have already begun. The registration has started in some parts of Pakistan. So far, more than 10 refugees have received the vaccine.
Afghan Refugees Vaccinated the Same as Pakistani Residents
The National Command and Operation Centre is in charge of Pakistan’s response to COVID-19. It has authorized the vaccination of foreigners, including Afghan refugees with Proof of Registration Cards (PoR) cards. Afghan refugees are vaccinated according to the same standards as Pakistani residents.
Subsequently, along with representatives from the Ministry for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON); UNICEF, and WHO, UNHCR is working closely with the Ministry of Health. It is a part of a Technical Working Group to increase vaccine awareness among refugees.
UNHCR Helps Pakistan Against COVID-19
The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines is now supported by a UNHCR cold chain facility, which benefits both host communities and refugees. Health facilities that serve refugees and host populations continue to receive essential personal protective equipment donations.
“UNHCR stands in solidarity with Pakistan and refugees,” Yoshida said as he welcomed the first vaccinations for refugees. We continue to highlight the need for the international community to support Pakistan and communities around the country that generously host refugees and share vital services with them.”
Moreover, UNHCR has delivered 23 fully equipped ambulances to different provincial authorities in Pakistan, as well as housing units for use as isolation facilities and water, sanitation, and hygiene projects to improve preventive measures, to help Pakistan’s battle against COVID-19.
Lastly, the multi-stakeholder Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees is also bolstering health interventions for host communities and refugees in Pakistan (SSAR). Enabling solutions in Afghanistan and helping refugee-hosting communities in Iran and Pakistan are two of the SSAR’s main goals.