The EMA told CNN in a recent statement that “EU law requires the manufacturing sites and production process to be assessed and approved as part of the authorization process,” and explained that “even tiny differences in the manufacturing conditions can result in differences in the final product.”

The WHO in response to the policy stated that they and the EMA use the same standards in assessing vaccines and vaccine manufacturers may choose not to apply for EMA approval if they do not intend to market their vaccines in EU member countries.

“Vaccine shortages are already prolonging the pain of Covid-19 in Africa. Let’s not add injury to injustice,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Africans must not face more restrictions because they are unable to access vaccines that are only available elsewhere.”

According to European Center for Disease Control Covid-19 vaccine tracker, 61% of the adult population in the EU has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and 39% have been fully vaccinated compared to Africa where only 2% of its population has received at least one dose.

Travel was already difficult for those who were in countries with low vaccination rates

African and Indian travelers are not the only people who stand to lose with the current situation.

Prior to this, EU countries had already put many countries with low vaccination rates or a surge in the pandemic on the travel red list, with some airlines limiting their flights to some destinations.

“Traveling in the pandemic has become already a burden [in terms of cost and time],” Carmen Nibrigia, a tourism expert at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), tells Quartz. “To add another bottleneck and restrictive processes will add another layer of changes to already prohibitive measures some African countries are facing in visiting or entering the EU.”

Nibrigia explained that while the new measure will affect those who cannot access the right vaccines under this scheme for important trips related to healthcare, business, and trade, there will also be a significant loss in terms of revenues for some of those European countries benefiting from this flow of people.

“For instance, airline companies like Air France, KLM, SN Brussels with a huge footprint on African market stand to lose,” she said. One has to see this as a two-way traffic challenge that can’t be dealt with by only one party.”

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