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WHO disowns insistence on vaccine certificates for travels

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it does not support the insistence on vaccine certificates as a prerequisite for travels across the globe.

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THIS is even as the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) dispelled the widespread speculations that the COVID-19 vaccine creates a magnetic field around the vaccination site that could cause the body to light up an electric bulb.

The dismissal comes as Nigeria waits for more supplies to kick-start the second phase of its strategic vaccination plan, stating that it was a ploy to discourage people from taking the jabs.

Addressing the weekly COVID-19 vaccination update by the agency, WHO Country Representative, Walter Kazedi Mulombo, explained that the vaccine must be approved by his organisation and be universally available before it can be a precondition for trips.

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He argued that there is still a significant divide in the availability of vaccines between the wealthy nations and poorer ones, thus, the use of certificates was not ideal.

The official said: “WHO is updating its recommendations. We will not recommend making proof of COVID-19 vaccination a mandatory provision to enter or visit any country. No region or country should face restrictions because they are unable to get vaccines.”

On the European Union (EU) Digital COVID certificate, which excludes AstraZeneca vaccines administered in Africa because it is produced under the licence of the Serum Institute of India, NPHCDA’s Executive Director, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, observed that the decision was only temporary, as the Indian firm is still in the process of getting validation.

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He said: “There are different validation processes that are used for different vaccines, even if it is the same vaccine as long as it is produced from different facilities. We have to go through that same process. So, the EU is not banning permanently or failing to recognise the AstraZeneca vaccines from India, it is just that Indian authorities have to also go through that process to get approved, and that is something that will absolutely happen. So, it is not anything to be worried about. It also doesn’t mean inferiority in terms of the quality of the vaccination.”

“In the next few days, you will read in the reports that EU will accept vaccine certificates from those countries that have used COVID vaccines from India.”

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