Iraqi refugees in Jordan get COVID-19 vaccine

An Iraqi couple in Jordan became two of the first UNHCR-registered refugees in the world to be vaccinated against COVID-19 on Thursday. Raia Al Kabashi, a pharmacist, and her husband Ziad, who's a doctor, fled Baghdad in 2006. 

They were prioritized for the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine as Ziad has underlying health conditions. Raia said she was delighted to have received the vaccine as it meant she could now see her family again. 

"If my family want to come and visit, I can hug them. If I see my friends, who I haven't seen for ages, I can hug them," she said as she left a vaccination center in Irbid, some 80 km (50 miles) north of Amman. "I encourage all refugees and Jordanians to take the vaccine," she said. 

"This is the only solution to end COVID-19." Jordan began administering coronavirus vaccines Wednesday, with the goal of inoculating 10,000 people in the first two days. 

According to a UNHCR statement, refugees and asylum seekers in Jordan can receive the vaccine free of charge, as well as Jordanian citizens. The head of the Irbid vaccination center, Ali Alzetaye, said refugees were "like our brothers and sons." 

"If we don't vaccinate them and only vaccinate the Jordanians, then the pandemic will persist amongst them. Our mission is to protect them, protect ourselves and everybody," he said. 


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