The WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, known as SAGE, is calling for healthcare workers and the most vulnerable 20 per cent of people in every country to receive Covid-19 jabs before broadening immunisation programmes to other sectors of the population.
"In the current period of very limited vaccine supply, preferential vaccination of international travellers would counter the principle of equity," SAGE said. "Because of this and the lack of evidence that vaccination reduces the risk of transmission, SAGE currently does not recommend Covid-19 vaccination of travellers," it concluded.
High-risk travellers should be included in vaccination programmes
However, it added that people in high-risk groups planning to travel should be included in vaccination programmes.
The development comes amid experts recommending that the Moderna vaccine be given in two doses at an interval of 28 days, which could be extended under exceptional circumstances to 42 days. During a meeting in January, experts discussed the Moderna vaccine, which, like the Pfizer-BioNTech one, uses mRNA technology and is being rolled out in several countries.
Both vaccines require boosters after three to four weeks, but several countries facing limited vaccine supplies have said they will delay administering the second injection so that more people can get the first dose.
A cut in the number of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines being delivered to Europe have caused vaccination efforts to come to a standstill; and so international travel continues to suffer.