The Covid pandemic has “disproportionally affected residing migrant populations” in Europe, “who have experienced a vast range of affects both at a sanitary and social level”, the Italian Higher Health Institute (ISS) said.
Moreover, some ethnic minorities seem to have “low vaccination rates”, the institute said in the document “Covid-19 among migrants: the importance of vaccination”.
The document was published on the epidemiology website of the Higher Health Institute and is based on a recent report of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The data available highlighted how migrant communities residing in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and the United Kingdom, are “particularly exposed to the risk of infection from Sars-CoV-2, with consequences on the number of hospitalizations and deaths”: in Norway, migrants represented 42% of all cases (as of April 27, 2020), in Denmark 26% (as of September 7, 2020) and in Sweden 32% (as of May 2020).
Moreover, studies conducted in Italy and Spain suggest that “migrants are more likely to be hospitalized compared to the residing population”. Some migrant populations have suffered more from the negative effects of restrictions to fight the pandemic. Moreover, travel restrictions had repercussions on family reunifications and asylum procedures.
The data on anti-Covid vaccinations “appeared to indicate low coverage rates in some groups of migrants and ethnic minorities”, the document said. “However, their high exposure to the virus makes it necessary to implement interventions targeting these groups”.
Experts therefore urged, “when the moment comes to select priority groups for vaccination”, to take into consideration “migrants in camps, hosting and detention centers, shelters for the homeless”. Moreover, “it is necessary to improve data collection on vaccines” in these contexts.
Photo:A woman, holding her child, receives a shot of the vaccine against COVID-19 at a mobile NPHO unit at Kara Tepe camp on Lesvos island, Greece. EPA-EFE/VANGELIS PAPANTONIS