Wednesday May 31, 2023

Asylum-seekers need access to Covid-19 vaccine: IOM

November 20, 2020

BRUSSELS: Asylum-seekers and other vulnerable migrants in the EU should have equal access to promising Covid-19 vaccines, the head of the UN’s migration agency told the European Parliament on Thursday.

"It is for the sake of their safety and well-being of the entire host communities" in the countries taking them in, said Antonio Vitorino, director general of the International Organisation for Migration.

He was one of several high-profile speakers dialling in for a virtual conference organised by the European Parliament and Germany on migration and asylum in Europe. Announcements in recent days that coronavirus vaccines developed by German and US companies appear to be highly effective prompted Vitorino to plead for them to be given also to migrants, if and when Europe starts giving jabs to its population.

"When we have now news about a vaccine, the challenge that EU European member states are confronted with, is to guarantee access to the vaccine to everybody that is in your territory, not just your citizens, but also all the refugees, displaced people and migrants that are in Europe," he said.