Fully Vaccinated Indians Treated As Unvaccinated By UK; Govt Warns Of Similar Action

Covishield has also been approved for emergency use by WHO

The Indian government is incensed after the UK decided to welcome fully vaccinated individuals from 17 countries who will not have to undergo quarantine upon arrival but not India.

India is absent from the list and even if an Indian has received the Covishield vaccine, in the UK they will be considered unvaccinated.

Implications For Indian Travelers

As per the new rules, Indians will have to undergo self-isolation for 10 days upon arrival and three rounds of testing even if they received both shots of the Covishield vaccine.

This negatively affects Indian students returning to British universities.

They will have to bear the burden of additional costs for tests and quarantine.

Those found to have violated quarantine rules face a penalty of up to £10,000.

Those who arrive without a prior negative test face a penalty of up to £5,000 .

Racism At Play?

The UK’s decision to not recognise an Indian’s Covishield vaccination is peculiar to say the least.

This is despite the fact that Covishield is identical to the one developed by Oxford University and British-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca.

Thereby, it is a licensed product of a U.K. company, the only difference being that it is manufactured in India.

The vaccine has also been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization.

Furthermore, India had shipped 5 million doses to the UK upon the latter’s request and has also been used in their health system.

India Responds

Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla criticised the decision and called it “discriminatory” and hinted at retaliation.

A diplomatic note has been sent to the UK Embassy saying that UK citizens will also be subject to 10 days’ quarantine in India.

The UK says that it is working with India to revise its rules regarding recognition of the COVID-19 vaccine certification issued by Indian authorities.

UK-Approved Vaccines And Countries

Currently, the UK-approved vaccines are Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen.

The present list of countries whose vaccinated travelers will be recognised to be vaccinated include:

  • Australia
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Bahrain
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea 
  • Taiwan

UK Softens Stance?

A British High Commission spokesperson said that the government is working on granting recognition of vaccines administered by a “relevant public health body in India”.

The country is also expressing openness to constantly review and revise visa rules throughout the pandemic to keep borders open and gradually restarting travel.

It will also continue to assess scientific evidence on other vaccines and accordingly update its health measures.

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