The ongoing goof-up around European Union’s prized vaccine certificates which do not recognize some WHO-approved vaccines, has brought back to life memories on governmental dysfunctions.
Having spent a substantial part of my life in India, I am long used to bureaucratic delays, inexplicable and convoluted ways in which red tape eats into productive hours. It is a fact of life. Indians mostly account for unanticipated surprises from unimaginative public servants who put the letter of the law above the spirit of it, and are often, averse to common sense.
Watching vaccine barriers go up in the EU, on the back of export restrictions and vaccines hoarding, has illustrated the total lack of not only empathy but also the lack of imagination in bureaucracies.
Professionals and students from different parts of the world are struggling to travel and meet contractual obligations, simply because they have received a vaccine not approved by the European Medicines Agency (although approved by WHO EUL). The costs for families are a mounting toll, in a world already torn asunder by uncertainty.
This also speaks to the relevance of WHO’s shrinking remit in persuading member states to make coordinated policy decisions, not only for equitable access for medical products but also facilitating coherent travel rules.
If certain vaccines fall through the cracks in the regulatory mosaic, the burden will disproportionately affect some countries more than others. The state of affairs is a cocktail of political, economic and, commercial considerations bulldozing human rights considerations.
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