LONDON: The UK government revised its travel advisory on Wednesday, saying that Covishield qualifies as an approved vaccine, days after it drew sharp diplomatic criticism from India for ‘discriminating’ against it by not including it in the list of approved COVID-19 vaccines. If the British government does not recognize the Covishield vaccination, India has promised to retaliate with the same discriminatory measures.
Despite Covishield’s permission, the UK government has refused to grant the Indian vaccine certificate validity, keeping India on the amber list of countries. This necessitates the continuation of the 10-day mandatory quarantine requirement for Indians visiting the United Kingdom.
“We’re working with the Indian government to see how we might extend UK recognition of vaccine certification to those in India who have been vaccinated by a suitable public health agency.” According to a British High Commission spokeswoman in New Delhi, Indian visitors entering the UK must obey the “non-vaccinated restrictions.”
The revised advice on the UK government’s official website stated that formulations of the four specified vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria, and Moderna Takeda, qualify as licenced vaccines. It goes on to say that you must have completed a full course of an authorised vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in England.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had previously told the media on Tuesday that the non-recognition of Covishield is a “discriminatory policy” that affects our citizens travelling to the UK. The EAM has raised the issue with the new Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom. He had stated, I’m assured that certain assurances have been offered that this matter would be remedied.
The UK government’s refusal to recognize the vaccination had a negative impact on students and professionals who travelled to the UK after receiving vaccine doses in India. The issue was brought to the UK government’s attention during a meeting in Washington DC between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
Truss responded by saying the UK government would reconsider the policy ‘in a day or two.’