AU discourages imposition of Covid-19 vaccine passports

THE African Union (AU) is not in support of imposing vaccine passports as a pre-requirement for travellers as proposed by some western countries, due to low Covid-19 vaccination rates in the continent.

This was said by Africa’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director, Dr John Nkengasong, in a Digital Press Briefing on the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa Thursday.

The idea behind Covid-19 vaccine passports was reportedly to show that citizens had been vaccinated against the coronavirus, as well as be used for travelling abroad, granting access to places such as supermarkets, restaurants and bars.


Dr Nkengasong’s sentiments against such conditions came in response to queries and concerns that some Africans who applied to go to various countries within the European Union (EU) were denied visas, causing inconvenience to a ‘number of people.’

The EU in its reported reason for denying visas was it did not recognise those Africans inoculated with India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

“Our position as the African Union is clear that we are not encouraging yet the imposition of vaccine certificates for travel.  I mean, we have engaged with the European Union on that,” he said.

“It’s a very – it’s a clear, specific position and the rationale is simple: that we just don’t have access to vaccines.  So how do we – how do you penalise somebody that they should have their vaccine certificate where they are looking for those vaccines to get themselves immunised and conform?”

The Africa CDC director noted that when many people across the world had been vaccinated, vaccine passports could later be used as an incentive to encourage others to vaccinate as well.

“ So I think there will be a period where, I mean, the whole world has been vaccinated to a certain level, and then we use that vaccine certificate as an extra incentive to get everybody across the board, just like we do for yellow fever vaccination across to – for traveling. So our position is clear.  There is not much I can add to that,” Dr Nkengasong said.

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