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Akufo-Addo: Use of vaccines as tool for immigration control retrogressive step

President Akufo-Addo has been speaking at the 76th United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday (22 September 2021)

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 some countries of Europe which suggest that Covishield, Oxford-AstraZeneca’s 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.”

Akufo-Addo added, “The use of vaccines as a tool for immigration control will be a truly retrogressive step.”

COVID-19 certificate

Although the AstraZeneca vaccine produced in Europe has been authorised by the continent’s drug regulatory agency, the same formula manufactured in India has not been given the green light.

EU regulators say AstraZeneca has not completed the necessary paperwork on the Indian factory, including details of its production practices and quality control standards.

As vaccination coverage rises across European nations and other rich countries, officials 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 authorised by the European Medicines Agency, have a fresh negative test, or have proof that they recently recovered from the virus.

The 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 travellers from inside and outside the bloc and their rules vary widely, creating further confusion for tourists. Some EU countries, such as Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, allow people to enter if they have had non-EU-endorsed vaccines. Many others, including France and Italy, do not.

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