GENEVA — Getting vaccinated against the novel coronavirus disease is not an assurance in preventing virus transmission. That is why vaccine passports may not be an “effective strategy” for opening borders and restarting travel, cautions the World Health Organization (WHO)
“At this stage, we would not like to see vaccination passports as a requirement for entry or exit because we are not sure at this stage that the vaccine prevents transmissions,” says WHO spokesperson Dr. Margaret Harris.
Vaccine passports may not be an effective strategy as “not everyone has access to vaccines and there are groups in society who are excluded … We are still waiting on adequate supplies to provide the vaccines to all the countries that need them,” she says.
The virus “has really exposed the stark inequities in access to and coverage of health services … Groups who already faced discrimination, poverty, social exclusion, difficult living and working conditions were the hardest hit by the pandemic,” says Dr. Harris as she highlights how COVID-19 has impacted some people more than others.
The United Nations urges countries to build a fairer, healthier world post-COVID-19. Dr. Harris calls for action to “put in place policies and allocate resources so the most vulnerable groups can see their condition improve faster.”
This means “improving living conditions for all”, tackling “poverty and health inequities”, building sustainable societies and strong economies, and promoting “a more equitable sharing of resources, ensuring food security and nutrition” and turning “the tide on climate change”. There is so much work to do”, she says. (JSM/JuanManila)