India warns of reciprocal measures if UK doesnt recognise COVISHIELD

Synopsis: The UK seems to have adopted a discriminatory policy towards Indian manufactured Covishield. This has not gone down well within India.


Recently, UK released new post-Covid travel rules. According to the new rules, fully vaccinated Indian individuals will be considered ‘unvaccinated’ and will have to undergo mandatory self-isolation.

Why new UK rules are considered discriminatory?

Under the new rules, UK did not recognise the Indian Covishield vaccine even though it recognises the Oxford AstraZeneca shots manufactured under a different brand name, Vaxzevria.

We need to understand that the Indian manufactured Covishield vaccine is the same as the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. It is a variant of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. The only difference between the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine and Covishield is the place where the vaccine was manufactured and administered. In fact, India also supplied 5 million doses of Covishield to the UK at its request.

Apart from this, Covishield has been recognised by World Health Organisation(WHO) as safe. In fact, it meets the vaccine requirement of 18 EU countries.

What is the impact of the new UK policy?

This move will impact India and other developing nations that have been administering the Covishield vaccine. This might even fuel vaccine-hesitancy, as people would wait for the vaccines that are globally approved.

What is UK’s response?

Later, the UK mentioned that it has approved the Indian Covishield vaccine, but it refused to recognise vaccine certificates provided by India.

About the UK’s new travel rules

Under the new rules, travellers from “Green List countries” who have been vaccinated with the Covishield vaccine can enter the UK without quarantine. But India is still on the list of “Amber Countries”. India has not been included in the list of the countries whose public health bodies are recognized for issuing health certificates. Thus, this relaxation will not apply to Indian travellers. So, they will have to undergo 10-day Quarantine.

What should be the way forward?

UK authorities have expressed the wish to find a mutually acceptable solution to allow Indian travellers to enter the UK without the need for quarantine.

So, the best way forward is to push the UK diplomatically to reverse its ill-informed rule. Else, India might be forced to take retaliatory and reciprocal action.

Source: This post is based on the following articles

  • Small minded Great Britain: UK’s refusal to recognise Covishield is inexplicable and a terrible signal” published in Times of India on 21st September 2021.
  • India warns of ‘reciprocal measures’ if UK doesn’t recognise Covishield” published in Times of India on 22nd September 2021.
  • UK’s restrictions on travellers inoculated with Covishield are ill-informed. India must use diplomacy to clear impasse” published in Indian Express on 22nd September 2021.
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