PMA urges WHO, WMA to play role to end Covid travel discrimination

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) on Wednesday wrote letters to Director General (DG) World Health Organization (WHO) and Secretary General (SG) World Medical Association (WMA) requesting them to play their role in resolving the vaccination issue of people travelling abroad. 
The PMA raised the issue that concerned authorities of some countries have approved specific brands of corona vaccine and have declared mandatory for incoming visitors to be vaccinated with one of those brands.  
In response to PMA’s request, WMA presented a resolution in its council meeting on 12-10-2021and called for end to Covid travel discrimination. 
In a letter written to the DG WHO Tedros Adhanom, PMA said that it appreciates WHO’s untiring efforts for curtailing Covid-19 throughout the world. Being the specialised agency of the United Nations for health and coordinating responses to health emergencies, WHO contributed a lot to save human beings’ lives globally.
The letter said that PMA would like to bring into your notice a worldwide issue regarding Covid-19.
“You are well aware of the fact that different countries of the world are using different brands of the vaccine manufactured in different countries, which means people are not using the same brands of Covid-19 vaccine globally,” said the letter.
It said even knowing the fact, concerned authorities of some countries have approved specific brands mandatory for incoming visitors.
“This policy of approving specific brands of Corona vaccine will have devastating effects over international travelling and trade. Keeping in view the above facts, 
we request you to play your role and convince such countries to accept all the vaccine brands approved by all other countries for their citizens, otherwise it will create a big problem for the people who wish to go abroad for employment, business, education, medical treatment and for other purposes,” said letter.
Same letter was written to the WMA SG Dr. Otmar Kloiber by PMA, responding to which the WMA issued a statement.
The statement issued by WMA said that call to end travel discrimination caused by certain vaccines not being recognised across the world has come from the WMA.
It said that in an emergency resolution at its council meeting today, which opened in virtual form, the WMA said that citizens of some countries are experiencing serious complications in travelling as their vaccinations are not accepted as proof of full protection.
The statement said many countries accept only a certain set of vaccines considered as suitable protection while other vaccines are not recognised.
The Association says this is leading to an effective discrimination against travellers who have been vaccinated. In some cases it has led to requests from vaccinated people for a third and fourth dose, this time of vaccines accepted as providing the necessary level of protection, said WMA.
The WMA stressed that it is now calling on all governments to immediately adopt fair, harmonised and non-discriminatory rules to enable safe and equal travel opportunities and to inform the public if serious concerns about specific vaccines hinder their acceptance.
The WMA says it understands the reluctance of pharmaceutical authorities to allow the market introduction of vaccines for which an authorisation has not been applied in their jurisdiction, or which are still in the process of authorisation, or may have been rejected because their ethical or technical standards of testing or production do not meet the required standards.
The statement further said that it considers it necessary to evaluate Covid-19 vaccines as a reliable travel measure of protection on the basis only of their effectiveness against infection and severe illness by SARS-CoV 2.
“By now there is enough data to assess vaccines based on their protective effect, regardless of their marketing authorisation. Should vaccines be deemed not to be effective, and therefore not be acceptable as protection, the reasons for such decision should be made public,” said the statement.

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