A plan by the European Union not to recognize Covid-19 vaccines manufactured outside the block could set back global efforts to contain the pandemic. The intended vaccines passport by the EU risks leaving out travelers from developing countries who have largely received vaccines made outside the EU and the US. What is more appalling is that some EU member states have been actively donating vaccines not recognized by the European Medicines Agency to poor countries such as the Covishield.
The narrow list of vaccines accepted in the EU is a continuation of policy decisions by the bloc that have had serious implications on global vaccination drive. As Covid-19 vaccines emerged, rich economies within the EU rushed to purchase billions of doses of the commodities, leaving little for developing countries to buy. The unparalleled vaccine hoarding pushed poor countries to the end of the queue, an anomaly that exists to date.
When it became apparent that vaccine nationalism would jeopardize the ability of developing countries to inoculate their populations from the virus, there was a global call for patent liberalization, to facilitate mass production of the commodities. The EU and its member states strongly opposed the bid to temporarily suspend certain intellectual property rules to facilitate widespread vaccination around the world.
Meanwhile, some countries such as China began extending vaccine support to developing countries as a way of filling the gap structurally created by rich countries. China has domestically approved five vaccine candidates; two of which have been granted World Health Organization listing for emergency use. At home, China has now administered over 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines. Beijing has also sent over 480 million vaccine doses to nearly 100 countries.