Recognition of ‘covishield’ for travel; But excluded from 17 recognized countries
Although the UK has approved the Kovishield vaccine in its revised travel criteria, India is not among the 17 recognized countries. Britain has objected to the Indian vaccine certificate. Discussions are underway with India on this and the emphasis will be on simplifying the travel process, said Alex Ellis, Britain’s High Commissioner to India.
It was earlier believed that the approval of Kovishield would ensure that citizens who had taken the vaccine from India would not have to live in isolation. However, due to confusion over Indian vaccine certifications, the UK has excluded India from the travel recognition nations set for October 4. Therefore, ten days of segregation and testing are mandatory for Indian passengers traveling to the UK even in an emergency with a cove shield. The decision has drawn strong disapproval from India.
Covishield is a vaccine from Oxford-AstraZeneca, developed in India through technology transfer. So it was surprising that this vaccine had not been approved before. The vaccine was produced in India by the Serum Institute of India, Pune. The Covishield vaccine was not included in the UK-approved vaccine by previous standards.
Sanam Arora, president of the National Indian Students Union, welcomed the decision to recognize Kovishield Lashi. However, as India is not included in the 17 recognized countries, the problems faced by Indians will be resolved through dialogue with the British authorities, he said. Britain’s travel destinations include Australia, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.
‘Emphasis on travel simplification’
There is no problem with Covishield vaccine. Thousands of Indians, including tourists, businessmen and students, are flocking to Britain. Compared to last year, the number of student visas issued this year has increased by 30 per cent. Alex Ellis, the UK’s High Commissioner to India, said the move was aimed at making the journey easier. However, Covin is in discussions with the manufacturer on the technical issue of the vaccine certificate, and is trying to avoid inconvenience to passengers, he said.
Round of rules
As India is not included in the 17 recognized countries, Indians going there for employment or treatment will have to abide by oppressive rules. Even if both doses of Covishield are taken, only objections to the certificates will require them to abide by the already strict rules of segregation.
The Government of India has stated that it is currently in talks with a number of countries to get India’s vaccine certification ratified.
‘International travel process should be easy’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that countries around the world should facilitate international travel by recognizing each other’s vaccination certificates. Modi played this role against the backdrop of different countries enforcing different rules for travelers.