Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has argued that the inequity in the COVID-19 distribution globally is cause for concern and could be considered discriminatory if demand is placed on travelers to show vaccination proof for travel.
He said, “Effective management of COVID-19 and recovery of the global economy requires a concerted and collaborative effort from all member states. We need to move together on this or else we risk a deterioration of the situation in developing countries, the effects of which will inevitably spread to neighbors in the region and beyond.”
The Minister said further, “This is the first step in ensuring that inequity in the distribution of vaccines does not hinder the restart of tourism and related services. Any requirement for proof of vaccination for travel which does not take into account this reality could very well be considered discriminatory.”
He lamented the fact that many countries and regions are behind in the vaccination process and a unifying digital vaccine passport would be a difficult ask.
“There can hardly be a harmonized position for digital passports and other bio-sanitary protocols when some countries and regions lag dramatically behind in their health response systems, including the vaccination process. If we remain committed to leaving no one behind, we are best positioned to move farther ahead,” said Mr. Bartlett.
He also called for an expeditious review and approval process to facilitate quicker roll-out of safe and effective vaccines.
“There have been reports of vaccines being administered which have not met with widespread acceptance and the World Health Organization (WHO) has a role to play as the global norm and standard setting specialized agency of the UN on public health matters,” said the Minister.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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