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COVID-19 Cases Doubled Last Month In NW Syria Second Wave

COVID-19 cases doubled last month in Northwest Syria, and international aid agency World Vision warns that many lives could be at risk if vaccination rates in the region don’t massively increase.

Only about 54,000 doses of vaccine have been administered in a population of over 4 million people in Northwest Syria, where millions of people have been forced from their homes by conflict. While countries around the world are racing to secure COVID-19 vaccines for their own people, only 0.3% of the administered vaccines globally have gone to people in low-income countries such as Syria.

“Confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached 23,862 in Northwest Syria, including 672 deaths,” says Johan Mooij, World Vision Syria Response Director. “Now Syrian people who have already been exposed to unimaginable trauma are waiting for Western countries to show solidarity and help them access vaccines through the COVAX system.”

Vaccine shipments to the region have also been delayed because of the uncertainty of United nations Security Council negotiations about border crossings. “We are extremely concerned about the impact that the slow vaccination rollout will have on already critically vulnerable populations in Northwest Syria,” says Alexandra Matei from World Vision’s Syria Response. “The renewal date for the UN Security Council Resolution 2533 is fast approaching and its outcome will play a critical role in ensuring the provision of life-sustaining aid -including medicine and vaccines.”

“The pledged COVID-19 vaccine supply to Northwest Syria would only cover a maximum of 20 per cent of the population, and no vaccines are allocated to cover Northeast Syria areas where cases are increasing daily,” warns Mahmoud Homsi, Health Technical Advisor at World Vision Syria Response. “This must change - no one is safe until we are all safe, in the global battle against this pandemic.”

With more than 2.7 million internally displaced people living in crowded camps and relying on an already strained healthcare system, World Vision says the vaccination rollout in Syria must be prioritised by the international community in order to avert a catastrophe.

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