Monday, October 18, 2021

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UK Official says “Problem Isn’t Covishield But India’s Vaccine Certificate”

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Indian vaccine Covishield has been incorporated on the UK’s revised list of approved vaccines after an angry Indian warned of “reciprocal measures”, but Indians those who are double-vaccinated still have to quarantine because of “vaccination certification issues”, according to UK officials.

Responding to the recent sticking point, a top health official informed a daily that there are “no issues” with the Indian vaccine certificate.

UK revised travel guidelines


However, the UK’s revised travel guidelines say, “Formulations of the four listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines.”

The site clarifies that, on 4 October from 4am, those persons who have taken vaccines from a “relevant public health body” in their specific countries will be considered “fully vaccinated”. Though this list does not include India.

Suspicions over vaccination certification in India

This indicates that the Indians who are vaccinated with 2 doses of Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII), will still have to quarantine themselves even though India is now on the Amber list. Officials have conveyed that the problem is not the Covishield vaccine but suspicions over vaccination certification in India.

According to a statement by the British High Commission on September 21, its government is “working with India to expand the recognition of vaccine certification.”

In India, certification is a centralised national system managed through the CoWin app and portal.

“No issues”

The CEO of the National Health Authority, RS Sharma informed that there are “no issues” on CoWin with Covid certification, according to a report.

“The system is entirely WHO (World Health Organisation) compliant. We continue to have discussions with the International Civil Aviation Organisation as well. The UK High Commissioner visited me on September 2. They wanted to understand the CoWin system, the technical aspects.” Dr Sharma said.

Further adds “A resource has been allocated to them for this purpose and two further conversations have happened with their team. These were technical-level conversations,
Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawalla, expressing “delight” at Covishield being recognised, noted that the matter for Indians travelling to the UK was still not resolved.”

Travellers are delighted that Covishield is recognised as a vaccine equivalent to AstraZeneca on the official website. The issue for quarantine and travelling is not resolved yet and those who are looking to travel to the UK should carefully follow the official entry guidelines.

“The non-recognition of Covishield is a discriminatory policy and impacts our citizens travelling to the UK. The External Affairs Minister has raised the issue strongly with the new UK foreign secretary. I am told that certain assurances have been given that this issue will be resolved,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said.

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