Ukraine’s relatively lower rate of vaccination against COVID-19 is a growing concern for neighboring countries, which have collectively welcomed more than 3.5 million displaced people since the conflict began. In Ukraine, 35 of every 100 people are fully vaccinated, compared to an EU average of 75 per 100, a global average of 57, and 48 in the top five host countries for Ukrainian refugees — Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Moldova.
The displacement of Ukrainians is placing ongoing stress on already stretched health care resources in host countries. Polish hospitals may only have capacity to treat 7,000 Ukrainian patients, compared to the more than 2 million refugees already in Poland.
Humanitarian crises have severe health consequences for the affected population — physical and mental, as well as acute and chronic. Even when refugees leave Ukraine in relatively good health, they face increased risk of malnutrition, injury and disease, due to harsh or dangerous conditions on the way and limited medical support both in transit and in their host countries.