Bringing information and Covid-19 vaccination closer to communities in Albania
31 August 2022
UN Albania Covid-19 Response
Vaccination is key to protecting individuals and communities from severe illness due to COVID-19. However, only around 46.9% of Albania’s total population has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and only 12.2% of people have had their booster shot, leaving large numbers of people unprotected from the potentially severe effects of the virus.
Caravan for Health
To address the low vaccination uptake, WHO together with the Albanian Red Cross funded by USAID organized a “caravan”, or a series of pop-up clinics in public spaces, to bring COVID-19 information and vaccines closer to the people who need them. The caravan has been traveling around Albania during the summer months, aiming at encouraging COVID-19 vaccination uptake among the general public and promoting acceptance of social and public health measures. The first tour just came to an end but a second one will start during fall 2022. In addition to on-the-spot vaccinations, the caravan teams, consisting of medical professionals and Red Cross volunteers, has been engaging with local communities, providing them with accurate information on COVID-19 vaccines and other topics, answering questions, and providing advice based on people’s perceptions and concerns. Tote bags including protective equipment was also handed out. Red Cross volunteers also reached out to communities to inform them about the caravan before its arrival to ensure that the communities were well informed.
So far, there has been participation and engagement in 6 Municipalities, 10 Administrative units. More than 1500 people have been reached through the initiative. The number of COVID-19 doses administered varies from 12-30 for each site. An increased number of people visiting the vaccination centres in the respective localities, in the days following the Caravan for Health has also been noted.
Another initiative, funded by both USAID and the EU, is door-to-door vaccination offered to the older population and people with underlying health conditions in Albania. The initiative strives to increase the accessibility to vaccination, especially in rural and hard-to-reach areas. With this initiative, people do not have to visit the primary healthcare clinic to get vaccinated, but healthcare personnel give visits to people's homes. For the past months, seven mobile teams have been traveling around Albania.
Vaccination through mobile teams in the remote and underserved communities in Figures:
- During the period 1 to 31 July 2022, there have been 3,351 doses of COVID-19 administarted.
- During the period 1 to 25 August 2022, 2,774 people got vaccinated through the mobile teams all over the country.
WHO has implemented several activities designed to increase vaccine uptake over the last years using various approaches to reach different communities. Community-tailored activities continue to be important to ensure accessible vaccines and reliable information for all.
Getting vaccinated is key – the pandemic is not over
Billions of people around the world have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Getting vaccinated is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself against COVID-19, help ends the pandemic, and stop new variants from emerging. The pandemic is not over.