Vaccine inconsistency may ‘delay restart of travel’, warns WTTC

WTTC believes that the lack of international coordination to agree on a list of approved vaccines, is creating a ‘major stumbling block for the restart of international travel’

The restart of international travel could be “seriously delayed” without worldwide reciprocal recognition of all approved Covid-19 vaccines, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The global tourism body, which represents the global private travel and tourism sector, has issued a warning following concerns tourists face “being turned away at the borders” because countries don’t have a common list internationally recognised and approved Covid-19 vaccines. 

WTTC said it believes that the “lack of international coordination” to agree on a list of approved vaccines is creating a “major stumbling block for the restart of international travel”.

This comes despite most vaccines have secured the approval of the World Health Organisation (WHO) or Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRAs), such as the UK’s the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Food and Drug Administration in the US, and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Virginia Messina, senior vice president at WTTC, said: “Reciprocal recognition of all vaccine types and batches is essential if we are to avoid any further unnecessary and damaging delay to restarting international travel. 

“The failure of countries to agree on a common list of all approved and recognised vaccines is of huge concern to WTTC, as we know every day travel is curbed, more cash-strapped travel and tourism businesses face even greater strain, pushing ever more to the brink of bankruptcy.”

She added: “We can avoid this by having a fully recognised list of all the approved vaccines – and vaccine batches – which should be the key to unlocking international travel, not the door to preventing it.

“It will also give holidaymakers and travellers the confidence they need to book trips, flights and cruises, confident in the knowledge that their fully-vaccinated status will be internationally recognised.”

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