Thus, the aid group Médecins sans frontières set up a tent in the north-east of Paris this summer to vaccinate migrants, the homeless and others without access to public or private health insurance. Aid groups are also carrying out similar actions in other countries.
“People think these people wouldn’t need a vaccine passport,” Cristiana Castro, who oversees Doctors Without Borders’ COVID operations in France, told The Associated Press. But “they often need access to public places for accommodation, to administrative procedures, and they fear that one day the passport will be necessary to access them, and this creates a lot of anxiety”.
A line of about thirty people had already started to form when the tents opened on Thursday, mostly migrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of them only recently arrived in France.
“I feel good because today I am getting the COVID vaccine, and after that I will feel safe,” Mdamasud Parves, a migrant from Bangladesh who arrived six months ago, told AP. Doctors Without Borders gave Parves his first injection of Pfizer vaccine and an appointment for the second dose in three weeks.
Since the announcement by President Emmanuel Macron on July 12 that a “health pass” would be necessary in restaurants, trains and many other places in France, the vaccination rate on the site of Médecins Sans Frontières tents is went from about 25 people to 120 people per day.
To get the health pass, people must be fully vaccinated or have proof of a negative test or recent recovery from the virus.
The pandemic has hit migrants and the poor especially hard around the world, and France is no exception. More than twice as many people born abroad died in 2020 than those born in France, according to the national statistics agency, a number attributed to the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable populations. less well off.
She said migrants generally view vaccines in a positive light and have similar questions and fears to the general population.
Aid workers initially feared that few people would return for the second dose, as they lack regular accommodation and are sometimes arrested by the police. The only single-dose vaccine available, by Johnson & Johnson, is not licensed in France for those under 55, so it’s not an option for operations like this.
“But it’s a population that wants vaccines, despite some fears,” she said. “So we have a good rate of return. “
France has one of the highest virus-related death rates in the world, with more than 111,000 lives lost, and infections and hospitalizations for the virus are on the rise again.
Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration and pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus -vaccinated