UNHCR commends Central Asia for providing asylum-seekers, refugees, and stateless persons with access to COVID vaccination

An elderly refugee woman who recently received her COVID-19 vaccination in Uzbekistan.  © UNHCR

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, commends the governments of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan for having included asylum-seekers, refugees, and stateless persons in national COVID-19 vaccination plans on par with citizens.

“When I was invited for vaccination, I decided to do it immediately because I want to be protected. I feel good, and when my friends ask me about vaccination, I advise them to do it too,” reported a 86-year-old refugee woman living in Uzbekistan.

UNHCR also commends all local authorities in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan, who provided asylum-seekers, refugees, or stateless persons with access to voluntary free-of-charge vaccinations, and calls on more to follow suit.

“We greatly appreciate the dedication and foresight of governments and authorities in Central Asia to address the vaccination needs of all people living on their territory. Only if everyone is protected will we all be protected,” said Hans Friedrich Schodder, UNHCR Representative for Central Asia.

The UN Refugee Agency continues to offer support to the development and implementation of vaccination plans which will help to protect everyone – leaving no one behind, including refugees, asylum-seekers, and stateless persons.

Central Asia is home to over 95,000 refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons who face additional challenges during the pandemic due to limited access to employment and social services. UNHCR has been working closely with governments, authorities, UN Resident Coordinators, UN sister agencies, and other partners in Central Asia to support global efforts on equitable vaccine distribution and to ensure that vaccines reach those in greatest need, following the overarching principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no one behind.