A day after the UK government included AstraZeneca Covishield in its list of accepted vaccines against COVID-19, a new controversy has erupted. And this time it is related to the CoWIN Certificate issued by the Indian government.
According to sources, “India and the UK officials are holding discussions associated with the certification of the COVID-19 vaccine which has been questioned by the authorities in that country.”
“The technical teams which are handling the digital certificates of both countries are part of the talks which are underway,” sources add.
Earlier on Wednesday, the British government updated its travel guidance and has listed formulations of vaccines including: AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines. However for the Indian students and travelers this has not translated into any relief. The travelers from India have to go into quarantine under the relaxed rules of travel to that country which will come into force from October 4, 2021.
What is the UK government saying?
About the vaccine certification, the two sides are in talks to explore how to expand the recognition of the vaccine certification that has been issued who have been vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India.
As of now the Indian travelers are expected to follow the `non vaccinated’ rules as laid down by the UK government.
According to British High Commission spokesperson in New Delhi, “The UK is committed to opening up international travel again as soon as is practicable and this announcement maybe a further step to enable people to travel more freely again, protecting public health and in a safe and sustainable way, while protecting public health.”
According to diplomatic sources, to keep the borders open gradually and to ensure safe travels, the UK government has been constantly re-viewing the visa rules. Also, “We are also reviewing scientific evidence on other vaccines on regular basis as well.”
Last week the UK government announced a clearer travel system: red list and rest of world. Though is no more on the red list, the diplomatic sources claim that the visa applications of the Indian travelers from all categories are being processed, however, they have to go through quarantine.
India warns UK of reciprocal steps over vaccine ‘discrimination’
On Tuesday, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla pointing to the inconsistency in the new rules announced by the government of that country said, “The Covishield is a licensed product of the UK company. It has been manufactured in India. Around five million doses of this vaccine have been provided by India to that country.”