Sun | Jul 25, 2021

WHO advises against mandating vaccine to travel

Published:Monday | March 8, 2021 | 4:48 PM
Passengers, wearing full protective gear to protect against the spread of coronavirus, push their luggage to a check-in counter at Zaventem international airport in Brussels on July 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

Geneva - A senior World Health Organisation official said that so-called “vaccine passports” for COVID-19 should not be used for international travel because of numerous concerns, including ethical considerations that coronavirus vaccines are not easily available globally.

At a press briefing on Monday, WHO emergencies chief Dr Michael Ryan said there are “real practical and ethical considerations” for countries considering using vaccine certification as a condition for travel, adding the UN health agency advises against it for now.

“Vaccination is just not available enough around the world and is not available certainly on an equitable basis,” Ryan said.

WHO has previously noted that it's still unknown how long immunity lasts from the numerous licensed COVID-19 vaccines and that data are still being collected.

Ryan also noted the strategy might be unfair to people who cannot be vaccinated for certain reasons and that requiring vaccine passports might allow “inequity and unfairness [to] be further branded into the system."

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