Aid agencies warn that nobody is safe until everyone is safe, and refugees get access to the COVID-19 vaccine
21 June, Istanbul – World Vision, International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation (IBC) and the Research Centre on Asylum and Migration (IGAM) together with other local actors meet today to discuss equal access to COVID-19 vaccines for Syrian refugees in Turkey. The invite-only event –Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccination for Syrian refugees in Turkey – address the risks faced by this vulnerable group in contracting the virus and the measures needs to provide them with medical care regardless of status and legal documentation.
World Vision’s latest report - High Risk- Low Priority – warns that COVID-19 is now surging in lower-income countries that do not have the resources needed to contain the virus and protect their own populations. They have access to only three per cent of global vaccine doses. These countries also host over forty million of the world’s forcibly displaced people, who as a result, are being left out of the extremely limited vaccination campaigns host countries are able to deliver.
Families who are most ravaged by COVID-19 continue to have the least access to vaccines – and many who have the power to change this are looking on. “Turkey is doing a much better job than many other refugee host countries and provided registered refugees with access to vaccines. Yet, Syrian refugees in the country report highest numbers of hesitancy in taking the vaccine shots – 71% according to our latest findings. A quarter of them also report not knowing anything about the vaccine”, emphasizes Johan Mooij, Syria Response Director with World Vision.
IBC implements awareness-raising sessions to beneficiaries about appointment processes for the vaccine and the importance of the Covid-19 measurements. “We have regularly informed all our beneficiaries about the curfews, measures and changes. Despite covid measures, we have continued to provide protection activities in an emergency. More than half of our beneficiaries still do not have enough information about access to vaccines. Civil society needs to take more responsibility in this regard,” underlines Muzaffer Baca, Vice President of IBC.
IGAM, based in Ankara, which hosts over 200,000 refugees and irregular migrants, relentlessly tries to inform the beneficiary population about vaccination procedures and encourages them to get vaccinated as soon as possible. “Luckily Turkey has accelerated vaccination efforts recently and greater number of population is being vaccinated. The registered refugees do not encounter any obstacle to go to the clinics for vaccination. However, insufficient information is still an obstacle for many to get their shots. Another big concern for us is that many people who are unregistered, can not get vaccinated. We have advocacy efforts for the coverage of such a large number of irregular migrants under the vaccination campaign”, said Metin Corabatır, President of IGAM.
World Vision, IBC and IGAM call on the Turkish government to include all forcibly displaced people, regardless of their legal and documentation status, in COVID-19 vaccination plans and rollouts, prevention measures and social protection initiatives on equal footing with their own citizens. Investing in information campaigns is also critical to reaching out this vulnerable population. "The pandemic will not end anywhere until it ends everywhere”, adds Mooij.
Notes to editor
- You can access a copy of High Risk- Low Priority here
For more information or to organise an interview please contact:
Alexandra Matei, Syria Response Advocacy and Communications Director, World Vision International | Alexandra_matei@wvi.org
Yagmur Sanay, Communication Manager, IBC | email@example.com
Nurhan Yönezer, Communication Manager, IGAM | firstname.lastname@example.org
World Vision is a global humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.wvi.org/syria-response or follow us on Twitter @WorldVisionSR
World Vision is responding to the devastating impact of COVID-19 in more than 70 countries. Our US$350 million response aims to reach, 72 million people, including 36 million children, especially the most vulnerable. We continue to respond this is global crisis by providing access to food and nutrition, protection, education, livelihood for children and families.
World Vision is committed to supporting the fair and equitable global roll-out of WHO endorsed vaccines and is partnering with governments, faith leaders, and community health workers in combatting the spread of COVID-19.
International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation (IBC) was established in 2000 as a NGO registered in Turkey and operating actively in the country as well as other countries such as Northern Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Yemen since then. IBC has its HQ offices in Istanbul and field offices in Istanbul (Sancaktepe, Sultanbeyli, Esenyurt and Küçükçekmece, Şanlıurfa, Kilis, Konya and Bursa as of 2021. The components of the projects which IBC implements are livelihood, basic needs, social cohesion, education, protection, health, non-food Items and WASH.
In 2020, approximately 50000 beneficiaries were reached with the project volume of 7 Million USD and the total project volume of year 2019 was 7,5 Million USD. Despite the covid-19 pandemic and its negative effects in 2020, IBC continued to increase its activities compared to the previous year’s considering the humanitarian mission on emergency issues.
As of 2020, IBC has included covid measures in all its projects and continued with the principle of not leaving its beneficiaries alone at any stage of the health crisis.
The Research Centre on Asylum and Migration (IGAM) was founded in 2013 by a group of academics, researchers, journalists and humanitarian workers, as an independent and non-profit association to fill the void of independent research centers in Turkey dealing with asylum and migration. The main purpose of IGAM is to contribute to the development of international refugee laws and principals, and to promote the effective implementation of these in Turkey. In order to achieve this, IGAM works in all fields relevant to refugees and asylum seekers, including protection, education, livelihoods and social cohesion.
With the inception of its field office in Keçiören District, Ankara, in August 2018, IGAM reached close to 8000 unique beneficiaries until June 2021. With more than 1300 awareness-raising session participants, more than 150 sessions conducted.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, IGAM continued all of its efforts, providing protection services, such as case management, information provision, psychosocial support and legal support, as well as pandemic-specific information provision, video and social media products, and protection briefings.