KUWAIT CITY, Jan 19: Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the East Mediterranean Region Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari affirmed that the requirement for travelers to present a certificate of COVID-19 vaccination has been postponed, reports Al-Anba daily.
In a press statement, he revealed that this was based on the recommendation of the emergency committee concerned with the COVID-19 pandemic during its meeting that was held virtually at the request of the Director General of the WHO to review the emerging mutations of the Corona-SARS-2 virus, which is the causative agent of COVID-19, and consider the possibility of using vaccination and test certificates for international travel.
Dr. Al-Mandhari explained that the committee’s recommendation that countries not require travelers to present proof of vaccination certificates came, as the effect of vaccines in limiting the level of transmission is still unknown, and that they are limited in the quantities currently required. The committee recommended countries to implement coordinated, evidence-based measures to ensure safety of travel and sharing of experiences, as well as adopt best practices in this area with the organization.
He said, “The committee also announced that the COVID-19 pandemic is still a public health emergency of international concern”.
Dr. Al-Mandhari stressed that more than 2,800 scientists from 130 countries met in an electronic forum hosted by WHO to identify the knowledge gaps and define research priorities for Corona-SARS-2 vaccines, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. They discussed the current safety of vaccines, the new candidate vaccines and their efficacy, ways to optimize the limited supplies, and the need for additional studies on safety.
He explained that the experts agreed on the need to conduct critical research on administering vaccines for different target population groups, and on vaccine delivery strategies and timelines, as this includes conducting experiments, developing models and conducting observational studies, all of which would help guide policies.
They also discussed the impact of the emerging mutations of the Corona-SARS-2 virus on the effectiveness of vaccines, the effect of vaccines on the transmission of infection, and the need to develop the next generation of vaccine platforms.
The meeting concluded with an agreement to establish a platform hosted by the organization in order to exchange emerging research information on the vaccine safety and efficacy and to coordinate that information at the global level. The forum will allow scientists to exchange and discuss research protocols and published and unpublished data to enhance collective understanding of vaccines for Corona-SARS-2 virus.
It is worth mentioning that this was the sixth meeting of the emergency committee concerned with the COVID-19 pandemic.