President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has chastised some countries in Europe for rejecting people who have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccines from entering their borders.
He said the use of vaccines as a tool for immigration control will be a truly retrogressive step.
Speaking at the 76th United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday (22 September 2021), the president said “One unfortunate development appears to be recent measures on entering of some countries of Europe which suggest that Covishield, Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India is not recognised by these countries.
“What is intriguing is the fact that this vaccine was donated to African countries through the COVAX facility.”
He added, “The use of vaccines as a tool for immigration control will be a truly retrogressive step.”
Although AstraZeneca vaccine produced in Europe has been authorised by the continent’s drug regulatory agency, the same shot manufactured in India has not been given the green light.
EU regulators said AstraZeneca has not completed the necessary paperwork on the Indian factory, including details on its production practices and quality control standards.
As vaccination coverage rises across Europe and other rich countries, authorities anxious to salvage the summer tourism season are increasingly relaxing coronavirus border restrictions.
In July 2021, the European Union introduced its digital COVID-19 certificate, which allows EU residents to move freely in the 27-nation bloc as long as they have been vaccinated with one of the four shots authorized by the European Medicines Agency, have a fresh negative test, or have proof they recently recovered from the virus.
Officially EU-endorsed vaccines include Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. They do not include the AstraZeneca shot made in India or many other vaccines used in developing countries, including those manufactured in China and Russia.
Individual EU countries are free to apply their own rules for travelers from inside and outside the bloc, and their rules vary widely, creating further confusion for tourists. Several EU countries, including Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, allow people to enter if they have had non-EU-endorsed vaccines; several others, including France and Italy, do not.