Vaccine passports are not for the jetset, says WHO


You don’t need to remove your suitcase and neck pillow from storage yet.

In light of the hype and rumors surrounding the so-called “vaccine passport,” the World Health Organization issued a statement warning transport officials that such authorizations would not guarantee that travelers are immune to the spread of COVID. -19 one way or another.

Proof of immunization would be a questionable requirement, as there are still more “critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission,” the WHO said.

“The WHO also recommends that people who are vaccinated should not be exempted from complying with other travel risk reduction measures,” they wrote in a Feb. 5 statement about proposed digital passports showing that a person has been vaccinated.

They also discouraged the possibility that cautious international travelers could restrict already low doses of the coronavirus vaccine, putting disadvantaged groups at continued risk of exposure and extending their period of isolation.

“People without access to a licensed COVID-19 vaccine would be unfairly hampered in their freedom of movement if proof of vaccination status were to become a condition for entering or leaving a country,” the WHO wrote. “National authorities must choose the public health interventions that least infringe on individual freedom of movement.”

The United States, the United Kingdom and other European leaders have publicly reflected on safe travel programs and strategies that would pave the way for a rehabilitation of the travel industry, allowing for greater mobility between countries in the wake of a pandemic that has caused the loss. of more than 2.5 million lives worldwide since last winter. In addition to international travel, the license could allow access to bars and restaurants.

Public health experts outside the ranks of the WHO have also criticized the proposal.

“I can see that they could be useful in the longer term, but I have several concerns about considering them at this time when I think the scientific evidence does not support them. And there are many ethical concerns about them that I think are legitimate, ”said Dr Deepti Gurdasani, a clinical epidemiologist at Queen Mary University of London, according to a CNBC report on Thursday.

“We know very little about the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing infections or even asymptomatic diseases against various variants that circulate in different countries,” added Dr. Gurdasani.

The statements come at a time when scientists are learning more than ever about the enigmatic disease, including a study published Wednesday that revealed that the coronavirus can survive on fabrics, including cotton-polyester blends, for up to three days, removed alone. with burns. hot water and detergent.

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