In a shocking move that has stunned public health experts, Colombian President Ivan Duque announced his administration’s decision to exclude hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan refugees within its borders from being given a COVID-19 vaccine. The controversial move has prompted condemnation from humanitarian groups. 

Speaking to a local radio station on Monday, the Colombian leader clarified that only Venezuelans with dual nationality or formal migratory status will have access to the vaccine as and when the drug is made available in the country, as per The Guardian reports. 

As Latin America continues to suffer a large-scale humanitarian crisis, Colombia alone houses over 1.7 million Venezuelans who have fled political repression, economic ruin, and widespread food and medicine shortages. According to migration authorities, while about 45% have formal status, and hundreds more cross the border unofficially every day.