European Union countries agreed on Tuesday to open their borders to travellers from outside the bloc who have had shots against COVID-19 authorised by the World Health Organization, easing restrictions on those who received Indian and Chinese vaccines.
The EU has so far authorised vaccines produced by Pfizer-BionTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca (when produced in Europe), Johnson & Johnson and Novavax.
Until now, most EU countries have not admitted people from outside the bloc travelling for non-essential reasons if they have been vaccinated with shots not approved in the EU.
“Member states should lift the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for persons vaccinated with an EU- or WHO-approved vaccine,” said a recommendation adopted on Tuesday by EU governments which would be applicable from March 1.
Restrictions will be lifted for travellers who received the final dose of the primary vaccination cycle at least 14 days and no more than 270 days before arrival. Boosted travellers will also be accepted.
EU states also agreed to lift a temporary restriction on non-essential travel for people who have recovered from COVID-19 within 180 days prior to travelling to the EU.
For people inoculated with a WHO-approved vaccine, EU states could also require a negative PCR test taken at the earliest 72 hours before departure and could apply additional measures such as quarantine or isolation.
o these shots, the WHO has also approved the vaccines produced by Chinese makers Sinopharm and Sinovac and by Indian company Bharat Biotech. It has also authorised the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India by the Serum Institute.
The world is in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic. As WHO and partners work together on the response — tracking the pandemic, advising on critical interventions, distributing vital medical supplies to those in need— they are racing to develop and deploy safe and effective vaccines.
Vaccines save millions of lives each year. Vaccines work by training and preparing the body’s natural defences – the immune system – to recognize and fight off the viruses and bacteria they target. After vaccination, if the body is later exposed to those disease-causing germs, the body is immediately ready to destroy them, preventing illness.
There are several safe and effective vaccines that prevent people from getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. This is one part of managing COVID-19, in addition to the main preventive measures of keeping a safe distance from others and avoiding crowds, wearing a well-fitting mask covering your mouth and nose, keeping indoor spaces well ventilated, cleaning hands regularly and covering coughs and sneezes.
As of 12 January 2022, WHO has evaluated that the following vaccines against COVID-19 have met the necessary criteria for safety and efficacy
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