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Give equal recognition to vaccines approved by WHO, SRAs: Covax

WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo: WHO/Christopher Black

Geneva/New York/Oslo, July 1 (MNN) Covax on Thursday urged all national, regional and local government authorities to recognise as fully vaccinated all people who have received COVID-19 vaccines deemed safe and effective by the World Health Organisation and/or 11 Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRAs) approved for COVID-19 vaccines, when making decisions on who is able to travel or attend events.

“Any measure that only allows people protected by a subset of WHO-approved vaccines to benefit from the re-opening of travel into and with that region would effectively create a two-tier system, further widening the global vaccine divide and exacerbating the inequities we have already seen in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. It would negatively impact the growth of economies that are already suffering the most,” the Covax said in a statement.

“Such moves are already undermining confidence in life-saving vaccines that have already been shown to be safe and effective, affecting uptake of vaccines and potentially putting billions of people at risk. At a time when the world is trying to resume trade, commerce and travel, this is counter-effective, both in spirit and outcome.”

Covax said it commended countries that have already shown commitment to equity as well as safety by accepting travellers protected by all vaccines validated by WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) and/or the 11 Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRAs) approved for COVID-19 vaccines.

“We call on other nations and regions to do the same.”

The development comes as the European Union’s ‘green pass’ system is set to become operational from July 1 to facilitate free movement of persons — vaccinated with four vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency — within the 27-member bloc during the pandemic.

India had asked the EU states to accept Covishield and Covaxin vaccinations of Indian travellers too, which are authorised by the WHO and other authorities.

Covax, the vaccines pillar of Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-convened by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi (Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others.

It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher- and lower-income countries.

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