The World Health Organization does not back requiring vaccination passports for travel due to uncertainty over whether inoculation prevents transmission of the virus, as well as equity concerns, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
"We as WHO are saying at this stage we would not like to see the vaccination passport as a requirement for entry or exit because we are not certain at this stage that the vaccine prevents transmission," WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said.
"There are all those other questions, apart from the question of discrimination against the people who are not able to have the vaccine for one reason or another," she told a U.N. news briefing.
The WHO now expects to review China's Covid-19 vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac for possible emergency use listing around the end of April, Harris said.
"It's not coming as quickly as we had hoped because we need more data," she said, declining to provide more information, citing confidentiality.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus appealed last month to countries with excess vaccine supplies to donate 10 million doses urgently to the Covax facility which it runs with the GAVI vaccine alliance. Export restrictions by India left the vaccine-sharing programme short of supplies of AstraZeneca's vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India.
Harris said she had no update on any countries stepping forward, adding: "We are very much looking for more vaccine".
Meanwhile, the United States won't issue "vaccine passports", White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.
"The government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential. There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential," Psaki told reporters at house briefing.
According to CNN, the White House has been clear that it would defer to private companies if they wanted to implement some type of vaccine passport system in which individuals would have to provide proof that they received one of the coronavirus shots.
"Our interest is very simple from the federal government, which is American's privacy and rights should be protected so that these systems are not used against people unfairly," Psaki said.
The federal government will provide guidance about privacy related to the coronavirus vaccines, Psaki said, though she did not provide a timeline, CNN reported.
Talk of vaccine passports has sparked pushback among conservatives who have raised concerns about potential government overreach that would discriminate against Americans who opt not to get vaccinated and infringe on their privacy rights.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday issued an executive order prohibiting vaccine passports, saying a system to track those who have been inoculated against COVID-19 infringes on citizens' rights, CNN reported.
"Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives," Abbott said in a statement.
Abbott's order came after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vowed to take executive action to prevent companies from requiring vaccine passports before providing services to customers.
The World Health Organization on Tuesday cautioned that the use of vaccine passports may not be an effective way to reopen global travel, citing the lack of vaccinations in certain pockets of the world.