Over 4,000 Rohingyas living in makeshift camps in Cox’s Bazaar have received their first Covid-19 vaccine doses.
The names of some 48,000 Rohingyas aged over 55 years have been included in the first round of the vaccination drive for Rohingyas.
UNHCR welcomed the commencement of the vaccination of Rohingyas in Bangladesh, in line with national authorities’ broader public health efforts. Equitable inclusion of Rohingya population in allocation of vaccines is critical to curbing the spread of the ongoing pandemic.
Johannes Van Der Klaauw, UNHCR’s Representative in Bangladesh, said, “The Rohingyas and the host community volunteers have an essential frontline role in containing the spread of Covid-19 in the camps. The first step in fully protecting communities; however, is through the rollout of vaccination. We are grateful to the Government of Bangladesh for having included Rohingya refugees in the vaccination campaign.”
The vaccination drive for Rohingya community is being led by the Bangladesh government with technical support from the UN Refugee Agency, the World Health Organization and other humanitarian partners.
The fight against the pandemic has been led by thousands of Rohingyas and the host community volunteers, who have worked since 2020 on informing refugees about health and hygiene, monitoring any signs of illness, and connecting the refugee community with critical health services. While the threat of coronavirus remains critical, their efforts have helped prevent and curb outbreaks and save lives.
The vaccinations follow the devastating monsoon rains that hit Cox’s Bazar District over the past weeks, causing flash floods and landslides which killed eight Rohingyas and 15 Bangladeshis in the host communities.
UNHCR’s Emergency Response Teams, and partners, refugee and host community volunteers were deployed to assess the damage, to provide support to families forced to relocate, to begin immediate repairs of shelters and other site improvements and to ensure access to essential services for all.
While the weather has improved over the last few days, the monsoon season will continue for another couple of months followed by the cyclone season.