Any WHO Approved Vaccine Should be Allowed for Travel

The WHO stated on Thursday that any COVID-19 vaccinations it has approved for emergency use should be recognized by governments when they open their borders to vaccinated travelers. 

The move could make it more difficult for Western countries to accept two Chinese vaccines that appear to be less effective, despite the fact that the UN health agency has approved them but most European and North American governments have not. 

The WHO has approved two Chinese vaccines, Sinovac and Sinopharm, in addition to vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. 

In May, the European Union announced that it would only recognize persons as vaccinated if they had received shots licensed by the European Medicines Agency, however individual nations can decide whether or not to admit travelers who have received other vaccines, such as Russia’s Sputnik V. 

The European Medicines Agency is considering whether or not to license China’s Sinovac vaccine, but there is no timetable for a decision.  

Such actions, according to the WHO, “undermine faith in life-saving vaccines that have previously been shown safe and efficacious.” According to the UN health agency’s reviews of the two Chinese vaccines, both were shown to considerably reduce the risk of hospitalizations and deaths. 

The two Chinese shots are “inactivated” vaccines manufactured with slain coronavirus, but the Western shots are made with newer technology that targets the coronavirus’s “spike” protein that coats its surface. 

Although vaccines developed in the United States and Europe, such as Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca, have been widely utilized in Western countries, many developing countries have relied on Chinese-made vaccines. 

The head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention admitted earlier this year that the efficiency of the country’s home-grown vaccines was low. COVID-19 has risen in a number of nations that have utilized millions of doses of the two Chinese vaccines, including the Seychelles and Bahrain, despite relatively high levels of vaccination. 

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