Covid19 has been accompanied by an overabundance of information and false information. In Uganda, refugees are necessarily exposed to false information, rumors and conspiracy theories that can undermine their confidence in vaccines.
Several refugees say they would wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine, unsure of the side effects, believing it to be a conspiracy, or who have their own cure for overcoming the pandemic.
We need to strengthen individual motivation through open and transparent dialogue and by communicating about the uncertainties and risks, but also about the safety and benefits of vaccination.
Given the limited supply in the short to medium term, vaccines will probably be reserved initially for health workers who are at high risk of becoming infected and transmitting the disease, as well as the elderly.
UNHCR has advocated for the inclusion of refugees, internally displaced people and stateless people through the Covax Mechanism, a global initiative that brings together governments and manufacturers to provide vaccines to the Low- and middle-income countries.
Refugees are key for this support.
Some people are reluctant to get the vaccine because they think their risk of infection is low, others because they are uncertain about the safety of the vaccine, and still others because of religious beliefs or reasons or a lack of confidence in the health system.
The vaccine remains a personal choice but also constitutes a collective responsibility.