“I am a displaced person living in a camp, I want to receive the Corona vaccine, but there is no vaccination center in the camp,” said Hamdi Ahmed, 18-years-old student and one of hundreds of the internally displaced people IDP who cannot get vaccines against the Corona virus, waiting for the government to deploy a vaccination outlet.
Ahmed, member of the Ezidi (Yazidi) community, lives in Mam Rashan camp in Shekhan district of Nineveh province. Absence of vaccination center in the camp forces the residents to go to Sheikhan district health center, 17 kilometers trip from the camp, or to the Mahat complex, which is 10 kilometers away.
"The lack of a vaccination center inside the camp was the reason why I have not been able to receive the vaccine so far, and this applies to the rest of the displaced," Ahmed said. "If there was a vaccination center inside the camp, me and the dozens would have been vaccinated by now."
If there was a vaccination center inside the camp, me and dozens would have been vaccinated by now
Approximately 20% of the 1,100 families living in Rashan camp, mainly Ezidis, have been vaccinated up to the present.
"If there was a vaccination center inside the camp, the percentage would have increase by 50%."
Sevi Hamo Selo, 25, an IDP residing in Bagid Kendala camp within the borders of Zakho district in Dohuk province, was forced to receive the Covid jab in Sinuny sub-district of Shingal (Sinjar) district where she was living ahead of Islamic State ISIS attacks. Later, a vaccination center was opened inside the camp.
"I was vaccinated in August, at that time there was no vaccination center in the camp. I had to go with my family to Sinuny sub-district in order to get the vaccine. We spent 50 thousand dinars ($34) as transportation expenses."
Early January, the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG opened a vaccination center in the camp where Selo lives.
"Opening the vaccination center is a very good step," Selo told KirkukNow.
According to the statistics of the Joint Crisis Coordination Center of the Ministry of Interior of the KRG, there are more than 664,000 IDPs in the Kurdistan Region, some of them are distributed in 26 camps mainly in Dohuk, in addition to 261,000 refugees.
30% of the IDPs escaped ISIS atrocities mounted to genocide back in 2014 and have not returned for absence of reconstruction and reparation, while Christians are 10%.
Some of the camps for the displaced lack centers for vaccination against Corona.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Iraq last February, Iraq has registered about 2.3 million cases and 24,600 deaths. Only 9.5 million out of 40 million population have received the first and second dose as Iraq joined the inoculation race last March.
Civil servant IDPs required by the government to receive the vaccine, resort to health centers near the camps to obtain the vaccine.
Murad Elias, 42-years-old IDP from the people Al-Qahtaniyah sub-district (Tal Uzair) of Shingal district, is residing for nearly eight years in Bersiv-1 camp in Zakho district.
“So far there is no vaccination outlet in our camp. Four months ago, we went to Zakho and registered our names to receive the vaccine, and we are still waiting for our turn."
A vaccination center has been opened in Bersiv-2 camp, which is 15 minutes away by car from Bersiv-1 camp, and Elias says that some camp residents go to Bersiv-2 camp to receive the vaccine.
Last October, local authorities have decided to build four health centers for treatment and quarantine of Covid-19 cases in the IDP camps. The health centers opened doors in the camps of Bersiv 1, Bersiv 2, Sharia and Ashti where the highest figures of positive cases and deaths were registered in the last in July and August.
Saadullah Abdullah, deputy director of Jamshko camp in Zakho district - most of the camp's residents are Ezidis - told KirkukNow, “we have repeatedly asked the concerned authorities to open a vaccination center in Cham Mishko camp, but we have not received a response yet, so the camp residents' have to go to Zakho district center to receive the vaccine.”
the camp residents' have to go to Zakho district center to receive the vaccine
Cham Mishko camp is 10 kilometers from the center of Zakho district. "Although the center is not far away, it is a burden for the displaced," Abdullah said.
According to the Cham Mishko camp administration, the camp is sheltering more than 4,000 displaced families.
"The largest part of the displaced who received the vaccine are employees or members of the Peshmerga forces. The percentage of vaccinated people in the camp is very low," as Abdullah believes that the lack of a vaccination center in some of the camps is one of the reasons for the low rate.
In Dohuk, 189,424 IDPs and refugees live in 16 camps, according to the statistics of the Dohuk Health Directorate. 42,282 doses of the Corona vaccine have been distributed so far, some IDPs received one dose and others received two doses. Ten of the IDP camps are located in Summel district, four in Zakho, one in Akry and the last in Amedi.
Iraq joined the jab race back in February 2021 when it has received a 50,000 does batch donation of Sinopharma vaccines from China. Later, Iraq has recieved Pfizer-BionTech and AstraZeneca jabs yet there is a high demand for the Pfizer vaccine.
Hamza Muhammad, Media Officer of the Duhok Health Directorate, declared six centers for vaccination have been opened in the camps for the displaced and refugees, four in camps for the displaced and two in refugee camps.
Muhammad stressed their intention to open other centers, saying, "During this week, a new vaccination center will be opened in Domiz camp."
He explained that the Health Directorate has formed mobile teams as a temporary solution until other centers are opened inside the camps.
Dr. Farhad Ismail, Director of the Prevention Department at the General Directorate of Health of Duhok, affirmed that the Directorate seeks to pay more attention to the displaced people residing in the camps.
“There is great contact between the residents of the camps, so when a certain organization or entity visits us, we ask them first of all to help us open centers for vaccination in the camps.”