The African Union’s (AU) top health official called Britain’s lack of recognition for coronavirus vaccines administered in Africa regrettable, saying on Thursday it sends a confusing public health message.
England announced last week that it would expand the list of countries from which it recognises vaccines, adding 17 others beyond the initial list of the United States and Europe. None of those countries are in Africa.
“We regret that the UK would take this position. We are calling on them to review this because it doesn’t speak to the spirit of true solidarity and cooperation,” Reuters quotes John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention as saying.
“If … you send us vaccines and we use those vaccines and you say you don’t recognise people that have been immunised with those vaccines… it sends a very challenging message for us,” he said.
The British High Commission in Kenya said in a joint statement with the Kenyan Health Ministry on Tuesday that it takes time to set up a system to recognise vaccine certificates for international travel.