You know the old saying about a situation getting worse before it gets better?The travel…
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) today released a statement containing the industry organization’s latest call for the worldwide recognition and acceptance of all approved COVID-19 vaccine brands and batches.
Last month, this business forum comprised of travel and tourism sector leaders issued a similar appeal to the world’s governments. The WTTC opined that international travel’s restart was being impeded by too many discrepancies between countries as to which vaccination types are accepted by border authorities.
It called the lack of multinational coordination to compile a universally accepted list of various manufacturers’ vaccines a major obstacle to resuming overseas travel and regaining a sense of normalcy.
Since then, the WTTC’s concern over the non-recognition of various vaccines—which have been approved by regulatory health agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the U.S.’ Food and Drug Administration, or the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)—has increased.
The organization said in its statement that there has never been a greater need for consistent and reciprocal recognition of all approved vaccine types and batches. The spread of dangerous viral variants across borders and the accompanying need to boost vaccination rates worldwide have increased urgency. With 4.5 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines bearing various manufacturer labels being distributed across 190 countries, establishing universal vaccine acceptance is a must.
Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President and Acting CEO at WTTC had this to say: “WTTC firmly believes that increasing the rate of vaccinated populations around the world is the key to safely restarting international travel.
“However, inconsistent recognition of vaccines administered by countries around the globe pose a threat to the safe resumption of mobility. Global leaders, such as the U.S., hold the relevant authority to recognize all WHO-approved vaccines for international travel.
“Borders cannot reopen effectively without all countries accepting the most widely distributed safe and effective vaccines. This includes AstraZeneca, which has the largest global reach and has currently been administered across 176 countries and territories, including as part of the internationally important WHO COVAX scheme, that aims to ensure worldwide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
“Part of increasing the drive for vaccinations is to build reciprocal recognition of all vaccine types and batches approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) and regional administrations such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The lack of international coordination to agree on a list of accepted vaccines is creating another major stumbling block for the restart of international travel and lowering the incentive for would-be travelers to get vaccinated in the first place.
“From the beginning, WTTC has pushed for a harmonized mobility framework, including reduced restrictions for vaccinated travelers, testing protocols and mask-wearing. All of these components together play a pivotal role in the safe restart of international travel.”
For more information, visit wttc.org.