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KINGSTON, Jamaica; March 19, 2021: Minister of Tourism and Chair of the high-level Organization of American States (OAS) Working Group, that is currently developing an action plan, for the recovery of the cruise and airline industries, Edmund Bartlett, is calling for careful consideration of the universal recognition and interoperability of systems regarding COVID- 19 vaccines.
The Minister made the call during yesterday’s 4th meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Tourism with over thirty participants from Member States, international organizations and industry partners from the cruise and aviation industries.
“As the world begins to regain hope and confidence through the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, we are reminded that global recovery will only be achieved through equitable distribution of vaccines. Currently, developed and developing countries are lagging behind in vaccine delivery and administration and this can lead to possible discrimination of non-vaccinated travellers who simply do not have access,” said Minister Bartlett.
The OAS working group is one of four announced during the 2nd special session of the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Committee on Tourism (CITUR) held last August, to facilitate the effective and timely recovery of the travel and tourism sectors.
“In calling for careful consideration of the universal recognition and interoperability of systems regarding COVID- 19 vaccines I also highlight the role of the World Health Organization as the multilateral norm and standard setting institution for public health,” added Minister Bartlett.
The Minister is expected to further advocate these points at the upcoming Follow up Extraordinary meeting of CITUR on March 26, 2021. He also recently cautioned against the rush in advocating the use of a COVID-19 vaccine passport given the disparity in the global distribution of vaccines, which could “cause disruptiveness not just among these smaller countries but in the global space.”