The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Thursday warned Britain’s pandemic travel restrictions could make people across the continent more reluctant to COVID-19 vaccination, reported CGTN Africa.
Under the restrictions, the UK government continues to subject some fully vaccinated travelers to quarantine upon their arrival in the country as it only recognizes vaccines administered in a few countries. Britain doesn’t recognize locally-administered vaccines even if the vaccine came from Britain.
“If you send us vaccines and you say, ‘we don’t recognize those vaccines’, it sends a very challenging message for us,” said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa CDC.
He said the message creates confusion within the African population creating more reticence, reluctance for people to receive vaccines.
As per the rules that come into effect from October 4 onwards, travelers making an entry into Britain from countries listed in the red list will have to get quarantined even if they are fully vaccinated. Travelers coming from countries not included in the red list will also have to face tough restrictions that include additional testing and home isolation.
“We regret that the UK will take this position, and we really will call on them to review this,” Nkengasong said.
Britain has been one of the active donors of coronavirus vaccines to African countries, sending more than five million shots to the continent.
Nkengasong said Britain’s stance would make Africans question why they should take vaccines when some European countries don’t even recognize those vaccines.
“That is clearly not acceptable,” he said. “We should be raising our voices against such behaviors, that is not what we need for this pandemic.”
The Africa CDC head said the UK government’s tough anti-coronavirus measures will create a stigma in the minds of the people about vaccines, which would eventually harm the efforts done so far in Africa.