(FreedomBeacon.com)- As countries are beginning to ease up on travel restrictions for vaccinated individuals, the World Health Organization is urging that nations recognize any COVID-19 vaccine that the WHO has authorized for emergency use.
What prompted the statement was the European Union, which began rolling out a digital travel certificate, currently does not include any individuals vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot manufactured in India. The India-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine has not been cleared by EU regulators, and only vaccines that have received the EU marketing authorization are recognized in receiving the digital travel certificate.
Currently only four vaccines qualify under the EU’s travel certificate criteria – Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Jonson, and European-manufactured doses of the AstraZeneca shot. There is no chemical difference between the European-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccines and the ones made in India.
But the EU not recognizing the India-manufactured vaccine is a blow to the COVAX initiative which makes heavy use of the vaccine in developing countries. By refusing to accept the India-manufactured vaccine, the EU is effectively barring travel from people who live in countries that rely on the COVAX initiative for COVID-19 vaccination programs. That includes 133 low and middle-income nations across Africa, Asia and Latin America where the COVAX initiative has distributed more than 89 million vaccines.
In their joint statement, the WHO and COVAX said that barring travel from those nations “would effectively create a two-tier system” that would widen the “global vaccine divide” and exacerbate the already-present inequalities in vaccine distribution.
The EU also prohibits entry to people who have received the two Chinese-manufactured vaccines as well. And with good reason as there are growing concerns about the effectiveness of Chinese-made shots.
But for the World Health Organization, self-determination and sovereignty don’t matter. In their statement, they claim that “such moves” like that of the EU undermine the “confidence in life-saving vaccines” and put “billions of people at risk.”
How the EU determining for itself who can and cannot travel there puts billions of people at risk is unclear.