African Union Against Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements For International Travel

Bottles of Astrazeneca vaccines in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 


Ministers of health from Africa met on 8th May 2021 to discuss the COVID-19 situation in Africa. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Africa CDC warns of increasing cases in the continent .


Some key decisions from the high level meeting:

◊ Collective endorsement of an adapted joint continental strategy with focus on enhanced Prevention, Monitoring, and Treatment (PMT) in order to meet the changing dimensions of the COVID-19 on the continent as well as the evolving nature of the global pandemic.

◊ All Member States to intensify their efforts for vaccination against COVID-19 as a critical component to prevent, contain and bring the pandemic to an end as quickly as possible.

◊ AU Member States to take up their COVID-19 vaccine allocations through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team platform and engage with the African Export Import Bank to work out the details for the advance purchase agreement.

◊ The need the protect schools and ensure schools remain opens.

◊ The urgent need to protect other critical health programmes on the continent against the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.These programmes including but not limited to HIV, TB, Malaria, and immunization efforts.

◊ The need to understand the impact of vaccine impact and safety in the continent and calls on AU Members States to conduct surveillance for vaccine effectiveness and safety.

◊ Encourages other countries to join the AU and the USA in making the right decision, by supporting the WTO TRIPS waiver.

◊ Acknowledges that the WTO waiver proposal is the first important step to expand manufacturing of COVID-19 related tools including vaccines, and a relevant initiative to ensure truly equitable access to vaccines, medicines and tools during the pandemic.

◊ Encouraged all countries, including those manufacturing vaccines and relevant COVID-19 tools, to fulfil the promise of vaccine equity, by ensuring that the WTO waiver is accompanied by the necessary and relevant transfer of technology and know-how to support and secure African manufacturing.

◊ Endorsed and supported the Africa Common Position on COVID-19 Passport, which calls for a global moratorium against the mandatory and unilateral imposition of COVID-19 vaccine requirements for international travel whilst encouraging the continued development of digital vaccine wallets and related technology tools, especially those based on the African Union Trusted Vaccines ( toolkit, to maximise the benefits of vaccination to the African public.

◊ Appealed to all AU Member States to leverage harmonized continental digital technologies for the response to COVID-19, including for addressing its socioeconomic impact, paying particular attention to digital inclusion, patient empowerment, data privacy, and security, legal and ethical issues, and the protection of personal data, which are values enshrined in the official African Union Trusted Health framework, and its digital archetypes: the Trusted Travel ( and Trusted Vaccines ( platforms, provided at no cost to all member states to drive the digitization of their COVID-19 response efforts.

◊ SUPPORT the mission of the 4D Partnership launched at this meeting among African Union Departments and organs to combine innovation-focused initiatives and technological systems; interconnect data streams; and build common electronic exchanges, repositories of algorithms and scientific models to address multiple developmental challenges that impinge on public health on the continent, such the interplay of genomics, diagnostic, mobility & genomic data in the tracking and prediction of pathogenic variants.

◊ Call partners to support Africa CDC, WHO, and AU Member States in the implementation of the adapted and endorsed Joint Continental Strategy and in strengthening their health systems to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in maintaining the safe provision of all other essential public health functions and services including combating TB, Malaria and other diseases.

◊ Appealed to AU Member States to invest in acquiring data with appropriate security, and sharing of data in a timely fashion, to help support the continental response efforts against COVID-19, and to enable Africa CDC to better implement the continental strategy in response to COVID-19.

◊ Appealed to AU Member States to give a key role to in-country Africa CDC focal persons to contribute in the collection and timely exchange of data.


Communique of the High-Level Emergency Virtual Meeting of African Ministers of Health On the COVID-19 situation in Africa

Author avatar
Patrick Wanjohi

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