The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) announced on Wednesday the establishment of a new $13.5 million program, funded by the German government, to help Holocaust survivors get access to coronavirus vaccinations.

The new Holocaust Survivor Vaccine Assistance Program (HSVAP) is a one-time initiative to offer COVID-19 protection for survivors worldwide.

Its $13.5 million in funding will be dispersed by the Claims Conference through its existing network of more than 300 partner organizations around the world. The funds will be used to cover costs such as the organization of vaccination appointments, transportation to and from appointments, and the coordination of necessary follow-up care and counseling for Holocaust survivors before, during and after inoculation.

There are currently more than 340,000 Holocaust survivors living around the world.

Claims Conference special negotiator and ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, who spearheaded negotiations with the German government, said, “This added support from the German government will expand our efforts to over 40 countries in which Holocaust survivors live. Once national governments make vaccines available, we will be there to ensure that every survivor knows their options, has access to vaccines and does not feel abandoned.”

Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference, added that “getting a vaccine can be a scary step for a Holocaust survivor. Often, they need help getting through the process. Sometimes, it is about holding their hands—figuratively and literally. It is about survivors knowing that they are not alone.”

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