Too early to consider vaccine passports for international travel-WHO official

Dr Harris said it was necessary to remain vigilant even after vaccination and to continue to maintain public health measures. 
Too early to consider vaccine passports for international travel-WHO official

International travel has been devastated by Covid-19 restrictions. Picture: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Dr Margaret Harris of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it is too soon to consider vaccine passports to allow travel between countries.

There was no evidence that a vaccinated person would not transmit the virus, she told RTÉ radio’s News at One.

Dr Harris said it was necessary to remain vigilant even after vaccination and to continue to maintain public health measures. 

“We are still at risk from this thing,” she said.  New variants, such as the Indian variant, remained a concern and that it was still unknown if the high number of cases in India were as a result of recent religious gatherings which were attended by large crowds or as a result of the variant itself. 

Dr Harris pointed out that numbers in Ireland had surged after social gatherings at Christmas.

When asked about the length of time between doses, the health expert said that the WHO’s position was that they would follow the scientific advice and go with the time frame used during the trials.

It was understandable why some countries were trying to vaccinate as many as possible, especially in hot spots like India and Brazil, she said. 

The WHO’s Covax scheme was continuing to share vaccines in as many countries as possible, but some countries have not yet started their vaccine programme because of lack of availability.

She added that it was too early to start easing restrictions and that public health measures should be maintained in places where transmissions were still occurring. 

“We need to assess where we are, avoid crowding and keep up surveillance,” said Dr Harris. 

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