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WHO committee rules against Covid-19 vaccine passports

16th Jan 2021
WHO committee rules against Covid-19 vaccine passports

By Peter Kenny

GENEVA (AA) – The key emergency committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that a lack of data on vaccine safety is a barrier to ensuring a quick and equitable global supply of vaccines and recommended against countries issuing vaccine passports.

“If you look at the recommendation made by the committee around vaccination for travelers, it says at the present time that the committee does not recommend including a requirement of proof of vaccination for international travel,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies program.

“It is not because that would be a good idea in the future,” he said. “But because we are lacking critical evidence regarding whether or not these persons were vaccinated, continued to be affected or continue to transmit disease.”

It recommended countries not require vaccination proof from incoming travelers but advised nations to implement “coordinated, evidence-based measures for safe travel and to share with WHO experiences and best practices learned.”

During the group’s bi-weekly news webinar, the confirmed global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 2 million, according to Johns Hopkins University in the US.

“Health workers are exhausted, health systems are stretched, and we’re seeing supplies of oxygen run dangerously low in some countries,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus. “Now is the time we must pull together as a common humanity and rollout vaccines to health workers and those at the highest risk.”

The pandemic continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the committee on COVID-19 again declared.

“The committee strongly encouraged vaccine manufacturers to rapidly provide safety and efficacy data to the WHO for emergency use listing,” it said.

“The lack of such data is a barrier to ensuring the timely and equitable supply of vaccines at the global level.”

It “strongly encouraged vaccine manufacturers to rapidly provide safety and efficacy data to the WHO for emergency use listing.

“The lack of such data is a barrier to ensuring the timely and equitable supply of vaccines at the global level,” it said,

The effects of vaccines in reducing transmission are yet unknown and the current availability of vaccines is too limited, the committee added.

Meanwhile, common rules for vaccination certificates and their eventual privileges need to be discussed by EU leaders, the European Commission head said on Friday.

“I very much welcome the initiative of the Greek prime minister about the vaccination certificate,” Ursula von der Leyen told journalists at a joint press conference with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa in Lisbon.
She called such certificates a “medical necessity,” but added that what kind of privileges the document would allow would be a political and legal decision.
In a letter to the European Commission on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriako Mitsotakis proposed an EU-wide COVID-19 vaccination certificate for travel.
[3D image of medical animation of Covid-19 structure by www.scientificanimations.com/Creativec Commons]

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