Representative image Photograph:( Reuters )
The announcement by WHO has come a few days after the UK approved first COVID-19 vaccination of Pfizer-BioNTech
As the world is bracing itself for COVID-19 vaccines, which are being expected to be rolled out in a few days, the World Health Organization (WHO) has another worry — keeping a track of the receivers of the coronavirus vaccine.
WHO is now considering introducing electronic vaccination certificates to identify and monitor people who have received the vaccination. "We are looking very closely into the use of technology in this Covid-19 response and one of them is how can we work with members states towards something called an e-vaccination certificate," said WHO Europe expert Siddhartha Datta.
The announcement has come a few days after the UK approved first COVID-19 vaccination of Pfizer-BioNTech company and is expecting to roll it out in the near future for the general public.
This certificate will make it possible for the authorities to identify and monitor people who have been vaccinated. However, the details of this have not yet been finalised and will be drawn in accordance with the national laws, Datta informed in a media briefing.
The authorities have also made it clear that this will not serve as the immunity passport which was supposed to guarantee that the passport-holder is protected against the novel coronavirus after being infected and recovered. Talking about the immunity passports, WHO's senior emergency officer, Catherine Smallwood said, "We do not recommend immunity passports."
WHO is planning to take a final decision as soon as possible as the European Union, too, is expected to announce their decision of approving the COVID-19 vaccine by December 29.
"Whilst we are seeing a slight decrease in the number of cases in western Europe, this does not mean the entire WHO European region faces an improvement in the epidemiological situation," WHO Europe regional director Hans Kluge said.
"The resurgence is moving eastward with the hardest-hit countries now in central and southern Europe," he added.
Amid the news of vaccines and a hope of the pandemic ending soon, the experts are urging governments to "consider scaling-up the public health infrastructure and preparing for the next surge".