No-one is safe until everyone is safe

Rolling out COVID-19 vaccines to IDP camps in Somaliland

UNICEF Somalia
UNICEF Somalia/2021
23 June 2021

COVID-19 does not discriminate. Within a country as well as between nations: no one is safe until everyone is safe. Ensuring fair access to safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines for all low- and middle-income countries, priority groups, and vulnerable populations is a priority for UNICEF, globally.

In Somaliland, a total of 53,407 persons have been screened for COVID-19, 4,595 have tested positive, and 313 deaths have been documented as of 25th May 2021. To bolster equitable access to the vaccines, UNICEF has embarked on strategies for the inclusion of displaced persons (including refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people, and migrants) into the COVID-19 vaccination plans.

“When I first heard that the COVID-19 vaccines arrived, I felt relieved, though I was not expecting that our camp would be prioritized, given the small number of vaccine doses donated,” explains Suleiman, 55, a community leader at a camp for internally displaced in Daami.

He participated in community mobilization activities by walking on foot around a seven-kilometre radius and reaching more than 500 families in the camp. His hard work provided him and his community members, and particularly the elderly, an opportunity to get vaccinated. “Some of the community members were very weak and couldn’t walk to the health centre, so I managed to hire private transport to get them to the vaccination post,” he adds.

Hoodo is one of the community members, living in the camp, who has been vaccinated.

UNICEF Somalia/2021

“A vehicle with loudspeakers and mobilizing team delivered the news of the vaccine arrival. They encouraged camp dwellers, especially the elderly and people with health conditions, such as diabetes, to go to the health centre and get vaccinated,” she recalls. “I immediately went there to get my shot. The vaccinators were very friendly, they vaccinated me and gave me this vaccination card to receive my second dose after 12 weeks,” she says, proudly holding up her card.

The vaccination of Suleiman, Hoodo and their fellow community members are a result of UNICEF’s successful advocacy to include all migrants and internally displaced persons aged 50 or above into the COVAX vaccination plan as well as to establish fixed vaccination centres close to camps for internally displaced. More than 11,700 displaced persons are estimated to have been successfully vaccinated through these advocacy efforts.