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Working with India for vaccine certification, says UK after uproar over Covishield snub

“We are engaging with the government of India," said the UK

PTI04_01_2021_000062A Covishield vaccine | PTI

After uproar over their decision to not recognise the Covishield vaccine—the Indian version of AstraZeneca shot—the United Kingdom said it was talking with the Indian government to explore the expansion of their recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certification. A British high commission spokesperson said, according to Hindustan Times: “We are engaging with the government of India to explore how we could expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India.”

The UK government is under increasing pressure to review its COVID-19 vaccine protocol in place for travellers from India, after its updated rules effective from next month failed to recognise Indian vaccines under an expanded list of countries. From October 4, the current traffic light system of red, amber and green countries based on levels of COVID-19 risk will be scrapped and replaced with one red list only.

The scrapping of an amber list, which is what India is currently on, means reduced PCR test cost burden only for some travellers. With an expanded list of countries whose vaccines are recognised in England not including India, it means that Indians vaccinated with Covishield—the Serum Institute of India-produced Oxford vaccine—would still be required to undergo compulsory PCR tests as well as self-isolation at a designated address.

“Indian students are disturbed by what they feel is a discriminatory move as they are being treated differently to their counterparts from America and EU,” said Sanam Arora, Chair of the National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK, whose patron Congress party parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor cancelled his planned UK visit in retaliation of the "offensive" rules.

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