COVID-19: Restricting Travelers by Vaccine Type Is Discrimination, Says PAHO

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned this Wednesday that restricting access to countries for travelers due to the type of vaccine they received against COVID.19 could lead to “discrimination.”

During his speech at the weekly PAHO conference, Jarbas Barbosa, deputy director of the agency, spoke about the case of people who received vaccines that are not endorsed, for example, by the United States and the WHO, such as the Russian Sputnik V and the Chinese CanSino.

The Joe Biden government announced just a few days ago that it will make travel to the country more flexible, as long as travelers have one of the biologicals approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), or by the WHO – in addition to the three mentioned, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Sinovac-.

Asked whether these measures are inequitable, given that many people have been vaccinated with doses from laboratories other than those authorized, Barbosa said that “many countries are already authorizing travel, so it is a very important issue … PAHO and the WHO have very clearly recommended that vaccines should not be used as a barrier to travel, to access countries. That can certainly create a kind of discrimination. “

He insisted that “Our recommendation is that this criterion should not be used to differentiate vaccines for COVID-19.”

Recognizing that restricting access or not is “a sovereign decision made by each country,” he urged that “they can reach bilateral and multilateral agreements so that all the vaccines that are being used are accepted,” said Barbosa. This, he argued, “can facilitate tourism, it can facilitate business, it is in the interest of society.”



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