Asylum seekers in the EU should have equal access to promising Covid-19 vaccines, the head of the UN Migration Agency told the European Parliament on Thursday.
“It is for their safety and the well-being of the entire host community” in the countries where they were hosted, said Antonio Vitorino, director general of the International Organization for Migration.
He was one of several top-class speakers who voted for a virtual conference on migration and asylum in Europe organized by the European Parliament and Germany.
Asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants in the EU should have equal access to promising Covid-19 vaccines, according to the United Nations. Pictured: Two boats carrying migrants are greeted by other migrants on their arrival in the port of Arguineguin on the island of Gran Canaria in southwest Spain on November 17th
Refugees and migrants set off on October 14th in the Kara Tepe camp on the Greek island of Lesbos
The announcement in recent days that coronavirus vaccines developed by German and US companies appear to be highly effective prompted Vitorino to campaign to have them administered to migrants as well when Europe begins to jolt its population.
“Nobody is safe until everyone is safe,” said the IOM chief.
“Now, if we have news about a vaccine, the challenge for the European EU Member States is to guarantee access to the vaccine for everyone on their territory, not just your citizens, but also for all refugees, displaced persons and migrants in Europe, ”he said.
Vitorino also called on the European Union to press ahead with a reform of its asylum and migration policy proposed by the European Commission.
The Covid-19 pandemic creates “additional pressure” fueling migratory flows, he said, noting that “the Sahel is exploding” with ramifications for all of West Africa.
Pfizer and BioNTech yesterday raised the estimate of the effectiveness of their vaccine from 90 percent in the results of the preliminary clinical studies to 95 percent today (archive image).
More than 40,000 volunteers from countries around the world are taking part in trials with Pfizer and BioNTechs vaccine. Pictured: A woman in Cincinnati receives the push