The Indian industry has termed the UK government's non-recognition of vaccine certificates issued by India as unfair, and sought the free flow of travel between both the countries.
The UK, on September 22, included Covishield in the list of vaccines that it recognises, but raised doubts over the Indian COVID-19 vaccination certification process. Due to this, even travellers fully vaccinated with Covishield from India will need to quarantine in the UK on arrival under relaxed rules from October 4.
“Let’s hope CoWin will be accepted to put an end to this needless controversy and enable free flow of travel in both directions!" tweeted Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson of Biocon.
Shaw, in another tweet, said India’s digital certification is far more reliable than other countries’ manual systems. “Is UK trying to make money on PCR tests?" she said.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) called the non-recognition of India's vaccine certificate as "unfair".
"India is the leading vaccine manufacturer for the world. Not recognising India's vaccine certificate is not acceptable," said Dr Alok Roy, Chair of FICCI Health Services Committee and Chairman of Kolkata-based Medica Superspecialty Hospital.
Expect quick resolution
Dr Harsh Mahajan, President of NATHEALTH, expressed confidence that the issue of Indian vaccine certificates will get sorted out before the implementation of new COVID rules for travellers to England on October 4.
NATHEALTH represents all the large service providers of India's private healthcare.
“The very fact that the British High Commissioner had a meeting with RS Sharma, the CEO of the National Health Authority, to understand the certification process augurs well for Indian citizens having unhindered access to the UK," Mahajan said.
"The Indian vaccination and certification process is fool-proof and highly professionally managed, and I am sure that further information exchange between the authorities of the two countries would lead to seamless travel without the need to quarantine fully vaccinated persons," Mahajan added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on countries to ease travel. “We also need to focus on addressing the pandemic’s economic effects. To that end, international travel should be made easier, through mutual recognition of vaccine certificates," a Twitter statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Tuesday had described the decision of the UK government to not recognise Covishield as discriminatory and warned of reciprocal action.