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World Health Organization Delivers Interim Guidance on Vaccines and International Travel


World Health Organization Releases Interim Position Paper on Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for International Travel

The UN’s World Health Organization recently released an interim position paper. It presents the WHO’s position on the advisability of requirements for COVID-19 vaccination or proof of vaccination for international travelers. The position paper is designed for use mainly by national public health officials and managers of immunization programs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issues regularly updated position papers on vaccines against diseases that have an international public health impact.

Issued on 5 February 2021, the paper presents scientific, ethical, legal and technological considerations regarding the possible introduction of requirements by States Parties of proof of COVID-19 vaccination for outgoing or incoming international travellers, pursuant to  provisions of the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR). Questions abound associated with the scientific, ethical, legal, and technological considerations involving the implications of mandated vaccination requirements for international travel.

WHO’s Position on Proof of Vaccination Requirement

At the present time, it is WHO’s position that national authorities and conveyance operators should not introduce requirements of proof of COVID-19 vaccination for international travel as a condition for departure or entry, given that there are still critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission.

WHO Considerations

There are numerous scientific unknowns regarding the various vaccines currently being distributed worldwide. Recommendations are quickly evolving with emergent evidence about existing and new COVID-19 vaccines.

Ethical, legal, and technological concerns are also being taken into consideration as the worldwide group provides guidance.

For more information, read the WHO’s full position paper on the vaccine.