Migrant health is public health: a call for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines
journal contributionposted on 11.05.2021, 10:22 by A Al-Oraibi, CA Martin, O Hassan, K Wickramage, LB Nellums, M Pareek
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) there are about 1 billion international and internal migrants worldwide, and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that 80 million migrants are forcibly displaced. Inclusion of these populations in COVID-19 vaccination plans is essential. Migrants experience multiple risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection and adverse clinical outcomes, including poor or overcrowded living conditions, employment in informal or essential roles with inability to work from home, sparse access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene services, and complex health needs including cardiometabolic comorbidities.1 These populations also experience multiple barriers to public and health services, including discrimination, insecure legal status, restrictive policies, limited knowledge of health systems, linguistic and cultural barriers, and mistrust of authorities.1, 2 However, migrants have not been meaningfully included in public health planning since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.