Portugal wants “immediate” plan to vaccinate refugees

  • Lusa
  • 3 March 2021

Portugal's secretary of state for European affairs advocated an "immediate" plan to get the Covid-19 vaccines to people living in refugee camps.

Portugal’s secretary of state for European affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, on Tuesday advocated an “immediate” and “effective” plan to get the Covid-19 vaccines to people living in refugee camps.

In a hearing in the European Affairs Committee, Zacarias stressed the “fundamental” need to “make the vaccines reach the refugee camps” in response to Beatriz Gomes, a Left Bloc member of parliament, who asked what mechanisms had been implemented to improve the conditions of those camps.

Zacarias​​​​​​​ stressed that this is a “humanitarian cause” that needs a “speedy and immediate approach”, given the “difficult and complicated” situation of the people living in the refugee camps, a population “even more affected by the pandemic”.

“These are severe and tough situations that we must manage effectively,” she stressed.

She hoped, therefore, that the “increasing” production of vaccines worldwide would allow not only a “greater availability of vaccines for sale, for those who can buy them” but also “to trigger the Covax procurement mechanisms and, at the same time, improve support and solidarity systems, whether bilateral or those that may be established in the framework of European cooperation”.

Covax is an international initiative that guarantees access to Covid-19 ​​​​​​​vaccines in low and middle-income countries. It has acquired two million doses that allow at least 20% of the population to be vaccinated by the end of 2021.