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WHO rejects COVID-19 vaccination requirement for int’l travel

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WORLD Health Organisation (WHO)’s emergency committee yesterday said it was against international travellers being required to have proof of vaccination.

  A statement summarising its April 15 meeting, the results of which were only published yesterday, said WHO opposed the policy partly on grounds that such a measure would deepen inequities.

  “Do not require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry, given the limited (although growing) evidence about the performance of vaccines in reducing transmission and the persistent inequity in the global vaccine distribution. States Parties are strongly encouraged to acknowledge the potential for requirements of proof of vaccination to deepen inequities and promote differential freedom of movement,” the committee said.

  But the global agency’s recommendation comes as numerous countries are mulling launching vaccine passports for travellers and other activities including sports.

  The idea, however, has met with criticism, with many saying it would lead to discrimination between young and old as well as rich and poor. Some have also raised privacy concerns.

  For instance, while European Union states have already agreed on vaccine certificates, China has launched a health certificate program for travellers and airline companies are also considering requiring vaccination proof, United States said earlier this month that it would not require vaccination passports but added that the private sector was free to explore the idea.

  It will be recalled that WHO, for now, has only approved three vaccines for the coronavirus — the one manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine made in India and South Korea, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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