UN calls for inclusion of IDPs, refugees in Philippines' COVID-19 vaccination drive

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 07 2021 11:58 PM

UN calls for inclusion of IDPs, refugees in Philippines' COVID-19 vaccination drive 1
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi City are seen outside of the evacuation center in Saguiaran in this photograph taken in February 2019. Bernice Beltran, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The United Nations office in the Philippines on Wednesday called for the inclusion of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in the country's COVID-19 vaccine drive.

The UN said in a statement it will be providing logistics equipment such as mobile storage units, generators, and transportation to move medical supplies, as well as technical aid for local government units, for the Philippine vaccination program. 

"Committed to leave no one behind, the UN is coordinating with the DOH (Department of Health) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to advocate for the inclusion of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, especially those belonging to priority vaccination groups, in the national vaccination programme," it said.

The UN said it will also supply cold chain management equipment needed to store COVID-19 vaccines, including specialized vehicles, in conflict-ridden Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The global organization affirmed its full support for the Philippines' vaccination program, citing its backing for the COVAX Facility, a global initiative which aims for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

"The UN is supporting the Philippines on both fronts and making sure that this phase of COVID-19 recovery is a success," UN Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez said.

The Philippines has so far received 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX Facility. It is the only approved vaccine in the country for the elderly.

The government plans to inoculate 70 million Filipinos by yearend to reach herd immunity but it has been slammed for the slow rollout of vaccines. Of the 2.5 million doses received, almost 1.5 million have already been distributed. 

Of this number, only 740,000 had been administered. 

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