Covishield okay, not India’s vaccine certificate, says UK

New Delhi: Covishield is now an approved vaccine on the UK’s revised guidelines for travel after a furious India warned of “reciprocal measures”, but double-vaccinated Indians still have to quarantine because of “vaccination certification issues”, according to UK officials.

This means that Indian travelers will continue to be treated as “unvaccinated” and will still have to take a pre-departure RT-PCR test, further RT-PCR tests on Day 2 and Day 8 of arrival, and self-isolate at their destination address for 10 days after entry.

British authorities are in touch with the team in India managing the vaccine certification through CoWIN.

Alex Ellis, the British High Commissioner to India, said: “We are clear Covishield is not a problem. The UK is open to travel and we are already seeing a lot of people going from India to the UK… Over 62,500 student visas have been issued in the year ending June 2021… We want to make the process of traveling as easy as possible… We have been having detailed technical discussions regarding certification, with the builders of the CoWIN app and the NHS app.”

Dr R S Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority (NHA), which has designed the CoWIN IT infrastructure, said India’s vaccination certificate was WHO-compliant, except on the minor issue of providing complete details of birth. “We don’t collect things that are not relevant. We only collect the year of birth, because the passport already has the date of birth.”

“There can be no concern because our product is as perfect as it can be. It is QR code-based and absolutely verifiable. Its authenticity can be verified; its integrity can be verified.”

A British High Commission spokesperson said, “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.” (Indian Express inputs)

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