The Government of the People’s Republic of China provides COVID-19 vaccines to help protect Palestine refugees

22 March 2022
Doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Government of China arriving at UNRWA facilities in Syria. This timely support will contribute to the protection of Palestine refugees against COVID-19 and complement the Syrian national vaccination programme. © 2022 UNRWA Photo

Two hundred thousand doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines have been donated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) by the Government of the People’s Republic of China. The delivery of vaccines to three UNRWA fields of operation, namely Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, was completed in the last week of February 2022. This vital contribution of COVID-19 vaccines will help protect Palestine refugees and more importantly, complement and contribute to the national vaccination and deployment programmes of host countries.

Bolstering host countries’ ability to slow the spread of COVID-19 is critical, and universal, equitable and timely access to COVID-19 vaccines is central to achieving this goal. This generous donation came as China’s immediate response to the Agency’s needs amid global constraints in COVID-19 vaccine supply, as well as emerging uncertainties around the vaccination rollouts across the region. This contribution from the Government of China sends a clear message of solidarity with Palestine refugees, who have been made increasingly vulnerable by the pandemic and enduring regional conflict.

Expressing his appreciation for the donation, UNRWA Director of Health Programme, Dr. Seita Akihiro said: “The COVID-19 vaccine donation from the People’s Republic of China provides a crucial layer of protection for Palestine refugees and promotes the equitable and timely vaccine access. This will also strengthen our collaboration with host countries as they kindly included Palestine refugees in their national vaccination programmes. We are truly grateful for the Government of China and its people.”

In referencing their support to the UNRWA, His Excellency, Head of the Office of the People’s Republic of China to the State of Palestine, Ambassador Guo Wei, said, “China always values and supports UNRWA’s efforts, and appreciates continuous provision by UNRWA of important assistance and services to Palestine refugees in the Middle East for a long time. This vaccine aid of China aims at implementing the Global Vaccine Cooperation Action Initiative proposed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, the core of which is to accelerate equitable access to vaccines in developing countries. China will, as always, support the work of URNWA and continue to provide practical assistance to Palestine refugees.”

The People’s Republic of China is a valued partner and long-standing donor for UNRWA. On top of the vaccine donation, China also provides regular financial contributions in support of the delivery of emergency food assistance to more than one million abject and absolute poor Palestine refugees in Gaza.

Background Information: 

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.7 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140