Disparities in Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 pandemic has complicated health inequalities around the world. In Somalia, there is no reliable data about the impact of COVID-19 on internally displaced people and refugee communities in Somalia. Due to the poor living conditions in the IDP and refugee camps such as inadequate sanitation and clean water, overcrowding and the lack of hand sanitizers and face masks, the transmission of COVID-19 infection and the risk of serious illness and death from the disease is thought to be greater for IDPs and refugees than resident communities. Yet these socially and economically disadvantaged groups were inadvertently excluded in the first phase vaccination priority groups.

The major source of COVID-19 vaccine information was social mobilizers (42.8%) followed by radio (14.6%) and healthcare workers (14.1%), see figure 3. However, there are underutilization of valuable and

trusted sources of information such as religious leaders / mosques (0.2%), posters and leaflets (0.1%), and community meetings (1.8%) and peer engagement (1.4%).

Figure 3 Vaccination Promotion Campaign by Source of Information. Source: Federal MoH / WHO Somalia (Does not include data from Somaliland) if the current very low rate of vaccination (0.8% of the population in 15 weeks) is not addressed, it could take Somalia many years to vaccinate 70-80% of its population. The pace of vaccination is likely to pick up some speed once more shipments arrive but the other contributing factors to the slow vaccine uptake must be addressed. The longer it takes to vaccinate a significant proportion of the population, the greater the cumulative effect of more infections and deaths from COVID-19 with devastating consequences on people, the fragile health system and the economy of Somalia.

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