Door-to-door outreach is boosting vaccination rates among marginalized communities

Speeches Shim

Friday, January 14, 2022
Volunteers in action

A USAID-supported campaign rallied 135 community volunteers throughout the country to reach out to members of marginalized communities and provide critical information on COVID prevention and vaccination, reaching those who may have been overlooked – including those unable to read. 

Rifadije Guci and Bahrije Rrahmani are among many volunteers who reached out to over 1,800 members of the Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian community in the municipalities of Ferizaj, Lipjan, and Shtime. As a result of the campaign, about 550 community members received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Guci recognizes from personal experience that many members of her community are illiterate, and accessing accurate information is challenging. She herself dropped out of elementary education because her family could not afford it. “Most of them told us they were afraid of being vaccinated. They said they had heard that it causes infertility. There were times when we had to go up to five times to a family until they were convinced to be vaccinated.” She added that she often had to provide evidence to the families that she too had been vaccinated. 

Rrahmani, a student of law, shares similar stories. “We noticed that they don’t know a lot about the vaccine. We worked very hard, but it was a good feeling because its results were positive and led to so many seeking to take their vaccines,” says Rrahmani. 

Obstacles to vaccination among the Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities often extend beyond the lack of information or awareness. Any cost related to vaccination, including transportation, presents a  barrier. 

In coordination with municipal health centers, the community volunteers facilitate the vaccination process by organizing transport and local vaccination events. UNICEF Kosovo, in partnership with community-based organizations throughout 14 municipalities, leads the initiative to raise awareness of the importance of COVID-19 vaccination among marginalized and vulnerable communities.

Last updated: July 22, 2022

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