19 Dec 2021
By: IOM Germany

Meet Gloria. She is a vaccinator since 18 years. Gloria and her coworker travel their territory on horseback to immunize the population. They apply the standard vaccination scheme and the vaccine against COVID-19.

Colombia - Gloria Hernández is vaccinator in Chita. Chita is a municipality located 7 hours from Tunja, capital of the department of Boyacá. Gloria explains that:

"As a result of the lack of access roads, you can take up to two or three hours to reach remote municipalities. For example, you can only reach Chipaviejo by horseback”.

Gloria is one of the 180 people who participated in the refresher workshop on the Expanded Program of Immunization. The emphasis was on mixed migratory flows. Coordinators and vaccinators participated in this activity financed by the Government of Germany and conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in coordination with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the Health Secretariat of the Department of Boyacá.


Workshop participants stressed the importance of addressing cold chain management and the use of the PAI/Web 2.0 platform as part of the efforts to strengthen the vaccination processes in Boyacá. To date, this department reports one of the best indicators of both scheduled and COVID-19 vaccination. The PAI/Web 2.0 platform is a computer-based system where the vaccination process in the country is recorded and monitored.

The department of Boyacá has 500 vaccinators distributed in 123 municipalities. According to data reported by the department, 1,741,630 vaccines against COVID-19 have been administered to Colombian and Venezuelan nationals so far. Given the fact that this is a territory with dispersed municipalities and a large rural population, where Internet connectivity is via satellite, Gloria emphasizes the importance of having the application as it allows to have information at hand.

As part of the campaign to vaccinate Venezuelan nationals, Sandra Antolínez, PAI Referent of the Health Departmental Secretariat of Boyacá, highlighted that the vaccination is open and without barriers. As a result of the coordinated action of IOM and the Health Secretariats of Tunja and Duitama, between October and November, 875 migrants received the vaccine against COVID-19 in Boyacá.

Patricia Avendaño, PAI and COVID-19 vaccinator of the Municipality of Tasco believes that the immunization of Venezuelan nationals has been a success. As she mentions,

"in the municipality we have had a great reception to this population. Venezuelans want to protect themselves and all of us".

Nubia Mireya Garzón, a vaccinator in the municipality of Muso, said that vaccination of the migrant population has been achieved through "sweeps" carried out in the territory.

When Gloria began her work as a vaccinator, her preferred health activity was not vaccination, but now it is her passion. Gloria says:

"I like the way we prevent diseases and help people. I invite people to keep their guard up because we are all going to help each other."

IOM receives funding from the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) for “Strengthening IOM's COVID-19 Life-Saving Response in Humanitarian Settings” in several countries around the world as part of IOM’s Strategic Response and Recovery Plan for COVID-19 (SRRP). We would like to tell the stories of some of the people who benefited from this support.

SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities