The World Health Organisation (WHO) has condemned the possible use of vaccine passports, warning that such a measure could isolate poorer countries.

With COVID-19 vaccination drives in full swing globally – some countries are in the process of issuing vaccine passports, which would allow citizens to travel.

Officials at the WHO only temporarily recommended against vaccine passports for international travel, but the global health will reconsider the issue at a meeting on April 15.

WHO on vaccination certification

WHO’s Dr Mike Ryan, who leads the body’s public health emergencies program, said while it was important to record people’s vaccinations, using the same information to allow or deny them normal and everyday activities, was something completely different.

“WHO does support certification of vaccinations be it paper or electronic, as a means of providing personal health information to people who are vaccinated and to give them a record of that vaccination. But also for monitoring and evaluation purposes,” Ryan said.

“Having proper certification and recording is very important. It’s a different consideration to what those certifications are used for outside the health space and that would be health certification of vaccination being used to attend work, to attend school, to attend events…they are not necessarily related to the health of the individual but to other factors and this is a complex issue”

The World Health Organisation’s Dr Mike Ryan

The global health body has further said that at this stage, a vaccination passport shouldn’t be a requirement for entry or exit because there is still uncertainty over whether the vaccine would prevent transmission of COVID-19.

“There are all those other questions, apart from the question of discrimination against the people who are not able to have the vaccine for one reason or another,” WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said.

Britain is currently in the process of developing a COVID-19 status verification scheme while the European Union plans on introducing certificates. In Australia, government is working on  an international vaccine passport.

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Presh JM Reporter

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