Africa health chief hits out at EU vaccine ruling

Africa’s top health body has strongly criticized the European Union’s decision to exclude AstraZeneca vaccines made in India from their “Green Pass” program for travelers.

The director of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, says the EU’s move was not driven by science and data because vaccines produced in India have not proven to be less efficient than those in the EU.

Nkengasong also called on the EU to stay away from policies that could undermine Africa’s fight against the pandemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is in talks with the EU to resolve the matter, but insisted that individual EU states still have the flexibility to accept vaccines that have been authorized by the WHO, such as Covishield, the India-produced AstraZeneca vaccine.

The EU’s Digital Covid certificate comes into effect today with the aim to facilitate travel during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eight European nations are reported to have cleared Covishield for the “Green Pass” – they are Estonia, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland and Spain.