UNRWA Commissioner-General gets COVID-19 vaccine from Ministry of Health in Ramallah; calls for Palestine refugees to be included in global push for vaccination

09 February 2021
UNRWA Commissioner-General Phillipe Lazzarini receives a vaccine against COVID-19 at the Ministry of Health in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank  on 9 February 2021, with the Palestinian Minister of Health, Dr. Mai al-Kaila (standing), in attendance. © 2021 UNRWA Photo by Marwan Baghdadi

Phillipe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), received today the first of two vaccines against COVID-19 in Ramallah in the occupied Palestinian territory through the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health.

Following his vaccination, Mr. Lazzarini said: “I decided to receive my vaccine against COVID-19 through the Palestinian Ministry of Health and encourage all my UNRWA colleagues to get vaccinated. The vaccine is safe and it is the most effective tool in preventing the spread of virus and reducing its health impact. I encourage all UNRWA personnel – many, many of whom are frontline workers who have valiantly led the fight against the spread of this virus from the start - and their family members, to register and get vaccinated through the national plans of the host countries where UNRWA operates.”

Commissioner-General Lazzarini also lauded the Palestinian Minister of Health, Dr. Mai al-Kaila, for leading the efforts in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the Palestinian territory.  For her key advocacy role, Dr. al-Kaila, a former UNRWA health official, was recently awarded with “Woman of the Decade in Public Life, Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Humanity” award from the Entrepreneurial Women’s Summit in Asia. 

With respect to the vaccination of Palestine refugees, UNRWA cooperates closely with local health authorities in raising awareness on the safety and availability of the vaccine, as well as providing other assistance where needed.

“My deep thanks and appreciation go to host countries that have already included the vaccination of Palestine refugees as part of their respective deployment plans,” said the Commissioner-General. “I am counting on the international community to ensure the availability of vaccines to refugees worldwide, including Palestine refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory and throughout the region. This deadly pandemic knows no borders and does not differentiate between rich and poor, or refugee and non-refugee. The only way we are going to defeat COVID-19 is through a sustained effort by all responsible parties, without discrimination.”