Ensuring Migrants' Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

As countries the world over are launching mass COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, IOM stands ready to support national authorities and other international organizations in the roll-out, at the policy, technical and operational level. IOM calls on Governments to count and include all migrants present in their territories – regardless of legal immigration status – in national COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans, as no one will be safe until everyone is.

“Vaccines are one of our most important and cost-effective tools to prevent outbreaks, protect individuals, and therefore keep entire communities safe and healthy,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino.

In coordination with partners — national and local health authorities, the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, among others — for decades, IOM has been a key player in global efforts to ensure that people on the move, including refugees, asylum seekers, migrants in irregular situations, and hard-to-reach people such as internally displaced persons (IDPs) and vulnerable host communities, have proper access to vaccines. Protecting the most vulnerable from health risks is critical for everyone's safety. 

 

 

IOM's vaccination footprint

Since its inception, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been working to improve immunization coverage for migrants and forcibly displaced persons across the world.

In 2019, IOM carried out vaccination activities in more than 74 countries, routinely, as part of national mass vaccination campaigns or in response to outbreaks. IOM provides vaccinations either directly or through reliable external providers. The Organization’s vaccination efforts span three major areas of focus:

  • global vaccine procurement and introduction of new vaccines
  • improving vaccine coverage and equitable access for migrants and people in crisis
  • strengthening national immunization systems

Depending on contexts, in 2019, IOM performed immunizations against more than 20 vaccine-preventable diseases: cholera, diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, influenza, Japanese encephalitis, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis, pneumococcal infection, polio, rotavirus, rubella, tetanus, tuberculosis, varicella and yellow fever.

In emergency settings, in 2019, more than 380,750 children were vaccinated against polio and/or measles. As part of IOM’s pre-migration health activities, over 445,800 vaccination doses were administered to close to 181,350 migrants and refugees in the process of migration on behalf of a variety of receiving countries, including Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

IOM's vaccination resources

Infosheets: 

COVID-19 Analytical snapshots: 

IOM's key partnerships for immunization coverage

The International Organization for Migration is:

  • a formal partner of the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • a formal partner of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) 
  • a formal partner of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
  • a member of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN)
  • a member of the Strategic Advisory Group of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s (IASC) Global Health Cluster

Countries where IOM provided vaccinations directly or through a partner (2019)

Countries where IOM provided vaccinations directly or through a partner (2019)