COVAX was built on the principle of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines to protect the health of people all across the globe. That means protecting their lives and livelihoods, including their ability to travel and conduct trade. As travel and other possibilities begin to open up in some parts of the world, COVAX urges all regional, national and local government authorities to recognise as fully vaccinated all people who have received COVID-19 vaccines that have been deemed safe and effective by the World Health Organization and/or the 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.
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 commends countries that have already shown commitment to equity as well as safety by accepting travelers 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.