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On Friday morning, Leyla Çelik woke up with butterflies in her stomach. For weeks, the 22-year-old student at Berlin’s Freie Universität had tried in vain to get an appointment for her first Covid-19 vaccine shot so she could volunteer as a polling station administrator at federal elections in September. “I’d basically given up hope.”
But last week her university had suddenly got in touch via email, offering her a chance to get a first dose of Moderna vaccine on campus, and within a few days. By 9am on Friday, the anxiety has turned into euphoria: “It’s such a relief,” said the native Berliner, nursing her achey shoulder at Freie’s biology institute, converted into a vaccine delivery point as of this week. “At last I can catch a train or a bus without feeling anxious.”
This year’s World Refugee Day offers a chance to reflect on the uncertainty faced by those forced to flee their homes, Oscar winner Cate Blanchett says as the world grapples with the unpredictability of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Australian actor, a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, said the annual 20 June event came during a time of “challenge and reflection”.
We’ve been forced to confront what uncertainty feels like and of course that is the situation that the majority of refugees live with, year in, year out.
There’s a kind of an opportunity … to think about how we have dealt with uncertainty and perhaps place ourselves in the shoes of mothers and fathers and doctors and lawyers who have been, through no fault of their own, displaced and have been living with, for often for upwards of 18, 19 years, in that state that we have been dealing with for 18 months.
Sadly, even in Covid [times], conflicts have continued around the world.
What we’re trying to talk about … is to support the host countries to enable people to be included in access to education, children to school, family members to work, but of course, most particularly in this time of Covid, access to health and to vaccines.