To avoid building discriminatory travel systems, the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged governments to accept all of its recommended vaccines.
For example, the EU’s vaccination passport only recognizes vaccines that have been approved by the EU’s own authority, of which there are currently four. Despite the fact that Hungary has authorized and administered alternative vaccines such as China’s Sinovac and Russia’s Sputnik V within the EU, The EU will also refuse to accept doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India, while individual nations may make exceptions.
“Any measure that only allows people protected by a subset of WHO-approved vaccines to benefit from the reopening of travel into and out of that region would effectively create a two-tier system, widening the global vaccine divide and exacerbating the inequities we have already seen in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines,” according to a joint statement from the WHO, the Global Vaccines Alliance, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The organizations are partners in the COVAX effort, which strives to make vaccination delivery more equal around the world.
In reviewing travel for the coronavirus health code required to enter the nation, China’s embassy in the United States said it will consider vaccines not yet approved in China, such as Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna.
Countries who refuse to recognize all WHO-approved vaccinations are “undermining confidence in life-saving vaccines that have already been proven to be safe and effective, impacting vaccine uptake and potentially putting billions of people at risk,” according to the COVAX partners.
“At a time when the globe is attempting to re-establish trade, commerce, and travel, this is both counter-productive in spirit and outcome.”
Pfizer-BioNtech, AstraZeneca-Oxford University (including those manufactured under license by the Serum Institute of India), Janssen-Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm, and Sinovac are among the vaccines authorized by the WHO.
Other vaccines, such as Sputnik V, are still being evaluated.