With mass vaccination drives being conducted across countries, there is a clamour to make it prerequisite for international travel. The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Oman, however, has said that making it mandatory as a travel requirement will depend on each country’s national policies.
‘Making the vaccine a travel requirement will depend on each country’s national policies and on the availability of the vaccine in quantities that may allow it to be used as an additional requirement or as an alternative to the PCR testing and isolation,’ the ministry said in a statement.
The MoH said that there is no legal formula for making the vaccine compulsory.
‘Taking the vaccine will be based on the conviction of individuals in the community about the importance of taking the vaccine which will be supported by awareness to promote the sense of responsibility and national duty,’ it said.
The ministry said it was too early to tell whether COVID-19 vaccine would provide long-term protection.
‘It is also not clear how long the vaccine will last to protect the body. Further research is needed. What is known so far is that the vaccine prevents the symptoms and reduces complications,’ the MoH statement said.
The ministry also debunked any expectation that the vaccine would replace the preventive measures. ‘Vaccine will be complimentary to other preventive measures as vaccine will not target all populations at once and those that are not vaccinated will always be at risk,’ it said.
‘In addition, the information is not yet available as to how long the vaccine will be protective and when this protection will disappear,’ the MoH added.
The MoH on Monday reported 286 new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), taking the total number of infections to 137,592.
The number of deaths reported during the same period was one.
The number of those who have recovered also increased by 237.
‘The number of recoveries has increased to 129,291, while the number of deaths has reached 1,543,’ an MoH statement said, adding that the rate of recovery hovered around 94 per cent.