Article by Yagmur T.
(3 mins read).
As a result of generating an immune response to the virus, the COVID-19 vaccinations provide protection against the disease. Getting vaccinated may also protect those around you, as you are less likely to infect others if you are protected from infection and disease. Migrants, however, particularly those with humanitarian protection, asylum seekers, and undocumented migrants may have insufficient access to high-quality, comprehensive health care. This is why it is even more important that they vaccinated. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published a paper titled “COVID-19 vaccination and prioritization strategies in the EU/EEA” in December 2020, which mentions migrants and refugees as possible target populations for vaccination campaigns.
Even though according to the Italian Drug Agency (AIFA), any citizen, regardless of their administrative-judicial status, can get vaccinated; migrants are often unaware that they have the same healthcare rights as Italian citizens and as a result, are hesitant to come forward for fear of having their documents checked. The fear of deportation, inability to communicate, and a lack of understanding of the healthcare system, as well as bureaucratic procedures, can be listed as the reasons why migrants abstain from going to hospitals in case they might infect with the virus, and also for the vaccination.
Despite having the legal right to vaccination, in some regions of Italy, the current reservation system requires a social security number, making vaccination difficult for unauthorized migrants. The inability to establish and implement specific interventions to reach migrants, particularly those who are illegal, may result from their exclusion from COVID-19 vaccination strategies. As stated in the Global Agenda 2030, “no one will be left behind” migrants, regardless of their legal status, should be included in public health strategies in order to integrate the universal right to health and the Universal Health Coverage aim, while also making sure that they are not subjected to financial hardship or legal consequences. To put it simply, there is no public health without migrant health.