Thursday, September 23, 2021

South Africa Urged to Prioritize Vaccination of Undocumented Migrants

By R├ędaction Africanews and Wandiswa Ntengento

South Africa so far has administered just over 16 million Covid-19 vaccines to its citizens. While "this is a step forward, the project head of social justice organisation, Lawyers for Human Rights in South Africa, Thandeka Chauke says undocumented african migrants are worried of being denied fair access to the Covid-19 vaccination jab."

"The biggest concern is that the EVDS registration system for people to access the vaccine is limited to people with an ID number, passport number or refugee asylum seeker permit number.

I think what has been the biggest concern is that undocumented are commonly left behind in daily activity like accessing the most basic human rights services."

Refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and undocumented people are estimated to make uparound 5 million of the people living in South Africa. One of those undocumented migrants is Brandon Gwaza from Zimbabwe. He says being unable to vaccinate poses a huge threat to his health and right of movement.

"As an undocumented migrant living here in Johannesburg, South Africa, it is not easy to get vaccinated. Firstly, when you get to the vaccination centre you have to produce documentation that shows who you are. I feel like if I don't get the vaccine then my life will be at risk."

The department of Health says it is ensuring that people living in South Africa have equal access to the vaccine. However, social activists like Lawyers for Human Rights believe more needs to be done.

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