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Over 3,700 refugees receive COVID-19 jabs in Ethiopia: UNHCR

Wednesday July 21, 2021

Photo Courtesy: WHO

Some 3,720 refugees presently residing in Ethiopia have received COVID-19 jabs, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said.

"Some 3,720 refugees, who meet the government's prioritization criteria, were vaccinated against COVID-19," the UN refugee agency said in its latest situation update issued on Tuesday.

Ethiopia's national Agency for Refugees and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) had in April disclosed the commencement of giving COVID-19 jabs to refugees residing across camps in the East African country.

The COVID-19 vaccine jabs rollout to refugees is being done in collaboration with various stakeholders including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ethiopia Public Health Institute (EPHI), it was noted.

According to the latest figures from UNHCR, Ethiopia is the third largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, sheltering 785,322 registered refugees and asylum-seekers as of the end of June.

The overwhelming majority of refugees in Ethiopia originate from its neighboring countries South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan.

Ethiopia hosts some 372,961 South Sudanese refugees, accounting for 47.5 percent of the overall refugee population in the country, while 211,610 Somalis, 145,752 Eritreans and 45,726 Sudanese are also presently seeking refugee in Ethiopia, according to the UN refugee agency.

Noting that a total of 164,631 refugee students are presently attending classes, the UNHCR, however, stressed that meeting the minimum guidelines set by the Ethiopian Ministry of Education to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the schools remains a challenge for most schools.

Shift systems and alternate learning are being used as a temporary measure to maximize the use of available resources. Despite all the efforts, over 60 percent of all the schools in the refugee camps do not meet the standards of safe learning environments, it was noted.

Amid a national push for vaccination, Ethiopia has so far administered 2,135,430 COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to the latest figures from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.

Ethiopia received the first batch of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government in March.


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