All refugees in Iran, even unauthorized ones, vaccinated: IRCS chief

March 30, 2022 - 10:43

TEHRAN – The head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society has said all refugees in the country, even unauthorized ones, have been vaccinated against coronavirus.

For many years, Iran has been hosting Afghan refugees, Pir-Hossein Kolivand said, adding, some five million Afghan refugees are living in Iran, all of them have been vaccinated, even those who have entered the country illegally.

“Migrants in Iran have the opportunity to invest in development projects. They are benefiting from all kinds of welfare and educational services. In which country migrants are treated like this? These are achievements that Iran has made, turning the country into a role model for other countries,” IRNA quoted Kolivand as saying.

Based on the latest statistics, over 3 million Afghans are living in Iran - some 780,000 Afghan refugees, over 2 million undocumented Afghans, and another 600,000 Afghan passport-holders with Iranian visas.

However, in light of the pandemic, all refugees, even those undocumented, benefited from access to free primary health services and free COVID-19 related testing, treatment, and hospitalization, just like Iranian nationals.

World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Iran Jaffar Hussain has said it is a great achievement for Iran that the government is vaccinating every Afghan refugee going to the vaccination center even before receiving COVID vaccines from Humanitarian Buffer (COVAX).

Without any discrimination, Iran has provided various services to a large number of refugees and foreign immigrants in the fields of education, health, treatment, livelihood, vocational training, and employment, with minimal assistance from the international community.

The same happened for the vaccination when the country has generously considered refugees for vaccination against coronavirus.

António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has praised Iran’s generosity which – for decades – has hosted millions of Afghans in need.

In December 2021, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, thanked Health Minister Bahram Einollahi for including Afghan refugees in Iran’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.