Jabs and governments are causing travel confusion

By | Category: Travel rumblings

What no-one is openly discussing in government or travel at the moment is what the attitude of people is to the seemingly conflicting news about jabs.

cartoon of a traveller
governments haven’t heped clarity © Dan Sperrin

What vaccinations will be accepted by destinations given that the World Health Organization (WHO) has only authorised three of them so far? Will Astra-Zenica or Johnson & Johnson jabs be acceptable in those countries that have decided not to use them like South Africa?

What is the attitude to those vaccines not approved by the WHO like the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, the India made Covaxin or the Chinese branded CanSino, Sinovac and Sinopharm?.

Some people say that if WHO hasn’t approved it, the vaccine must be unsafe. This is rubbish as some vaccines are certainly being investigated by WHO but the results are still awaited. WHO will check efficacy and review all the testing that has taken place.    

With the AZ and J&J vaccines, there is a miniscule possibility of blood clots occurring in some people – younger aged people it seems – after having had their jabs  but it as low as one person in 250,000.

A more important question that some countries are quietly asking but not publicly is whether the AZ/J&J jabs likely to be less efficient than other brands within certain age groups?

There doesn’t seem to be any evidence yet to be able to offer guidance as few people under 40 have had an AZ jab.

Will some cautious leaning destinations turn around and say people who have had AZ/J&J jabs will be on some amber travel lists whilst others having had other jabs will be on green lists?

Denmark has stopped using AZ vaccinations and a French minister, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, said last week that she thought the EU wouldn’t buy AZ or J&J vaccines in the future. She did confirm that the EU has started to negotiate with other manufacturers though. THe USA is currently not using J&J either.

Some apprehension applies to the vaccines made in China, India and Russia, probably without any foundation but doubts there are. In addition there are at least another sixty vaccines in clinical trials.

Sputnik V has been authorised for use in 55 countries but not in the EU or the UK. That hasn’t stopped some countries like Hungary ordering vaccines, in its case both Sinopharm and Sputnik V.

This is all the travel industry needs – more uncertainty and confusion about possible restrictions for holidaymakers and travellers. Having had the vaccines doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t face other restrictions like testing and quarantining. This just makes life difficult for the traveller.

There is no uniformity in approach and even the EU tourism vaccine passport proposed by Greece has not yet been agreed by all EU members. Nor is expected until at least June!

If the EU has displayed disunity, so have regional governments within countries. Never has devolution in the UK, federalism in Australia, the role of provinces in Canada, mayors in France and the role of the states in the USA  been in so much limelight.

Earlier this week, Ben Smith, the boss of Air France-KLM, told delegates at the World Aviation Festival that government decision-making where what applies one minute doesn’t the next made life difficult for airlines. That view will probably be echoed during the rest of the Festival.

And given the travel industry so much confusion.

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