Denying people vaccinated with Covishield the opportunity to travel to certain countries undermines confidence in life-saving vaccines, the Kenyan government says, while responding to complaints from travelers that many EU members tested both negative and have refused proof of full vaccination.
Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe warned that suspicion of vaccines, already proven safe and effective by the World Health Organization (WHO), could put billions of people at risk.
Effect on absorption
“If you refuse visa applications from people who have been vaccinated with a certain type of vaccine that is believed to be safe, are you telling them the vaccine is unsafe?” said Mr. Kagwe.
This will have an impact on the uptake of the vaccine in the countries mentioned.
His sentiments were followed by a statement from the Covax facility calling on all regional and national government agencies worldwide to recognize anyone who has received WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccines as fully vaccinated when making decisions about who is in the Is able to travel or attend events.
“Any measure that only allows people protected by a subset of WHO-approved vaccines to benefit from reopening travel to and within this region would effectively create a two-tier system,” the statement said.
Although Covishield offers the expected defense against the virus and is currently being administered in Kenya and most African countries, the EU Commission does not recognize it.
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The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is responsible for the evaluation and monitoring of medicines, has only approved four Covid-19 vaccines: Comirnaty (Pfizer / BioNTech), Moderna, Vaxzervria (AstraZeneca), Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
However, Covishield, the Indian version of the Covid vaccine from AstraZeneca and Oxford University, has yet to be recognized by the agency despite the WHO’s endorsement of it for global emergency use.
The European Union recently issued guidelines on the applicability of the digital EU Covid “Green Pass” certificate to various Covid-19 vaccines, which would facilitate free and safe circulation in all EU member states and associated countries.
The EU Digital Covid Certificate or “Green Pass” is mandatory for travel to European countries and the document serves as proof that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19.
The “Green Pass” came into force on July 1st to facilitate free movement during the Covid-19 pandemic.
India has already asked EU member states to check individually whether Indians who have taken Covishield and Covaxin vaccines and want to travel to Europe are considering individually.