From February 24 to March 18, more than 3.2 million people fled the Russian occupation of Ukraine, heading to neighboring countries such as Poland, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees announced.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), in a report published on March 18, predicted that many people fleeing Ukraine due to the war had not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, TheSchengen.com reports.
“In the absence of documented evidence of prior vaccination, eligible children and adults from Ukraine should be offered an initial course of vaccination against COVID-19 in addition to a booster dose, but the elderly, pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals and individuals with higher underlying conditions should prioritize the risk of Incidence of severe disease. A physical or digital record of vaccination should be provided, for future reference, including for people in transit to another country,” the report explains.
According to the ECDC, first-line workers such as health care workers or volunteers, if not already vaccinated, should receive a full COVID-19 vaccination course and a booster dose according to national guidelines.
In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in reception centers, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that it is necessary to consider testing all people who have already been displaced from Ukraine. If there is no testing capacity, then those showing signs similar to COVID-19 should receive the needed support.
The report shows that other measures that could be considered include ensuring access to and use of clean water, disinfectants, and full implementation of hygiene.
The European Early Childhood Center (ECDC) has acknowledged that in the wake of the massive influx of Ukrainian refugees, the resources and capacities of reception centers may be limited and also have the potential for change in the short term, which is why these recommendations should be taken into account.
In addition, the Center engages in bilateral and multilateral dialogue with stakeholders as well as the European Union along with international bodies in regular needs assessments in order to plan and implement specific support for the ECD Center.
Moreover, the latest data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 17 revealed that the situation with COVID-19 is improving.
Meanwhile, many EU and Schengen countries, including Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania and Malta, have reported lower infection rates compared to previous weeks. The majority of these countries have also eased travel rules, after two years of adhering to strict rules on the movement of travelers in and out of their territories in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.