The Covid Vaccination Facility Covax urged governments on Thursday to treat all people inoculated with WHO-approved products equally to avoid creating a two-tiered travel and trade regime.
Covax came out after the entry into force of an EU-wide Covid Certificate to Facilitate Travel that recognizes four vaccines but no others, including the Covishield version of AstraZeneca’s jab which is widely used in Africa.
The European Medicines Agency has authorized vaccines produced by Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
But the European Medicines Agency believes differences in how Covishield is made in India prevent it from qualifying for an EU seal of approval.
This means that EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland will not grant the same access to travel to those who have received the Covishield vaccine, especially people who live in Africa.
Covax, which was set up to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially in low-income countries, said this discriminates against them.
“Any measure that only allows people protected by a subset of WHO-approved vaccines to benefit from reopening travel to and with this region would effectively create a two-tier system,” a statement said.
This would widen “the global vaccine divide” and exacerbate “the inequalities we have already seen in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines,” he added.
Covax has struggled to get donation-funded doses to poorer countries, and he argued that a rejection of Covishield would make it harder to convince people to get the vaccine.
“This would have a negative impact on the growth of the economies which are already suffering the most,” the statement added.
In addition to the four vaccines approved by the EU, the WHO has granted emergency authorizations for two Chinese products, Sinovac and Sinopharm.
This story was posted from an agency feed with no text editing.
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