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No multilateral protocol at present on international travel of COVID vaccinated people: Govt

International air travel is taking place through special arrangements, including air bubble and Vande Bharat Mission, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said in a written reply.

July 30, 2021 / 06:34 PM IST
Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

International travel is not directly linked to possession of COVID vaccination certificates and there is no multilateral protocol at present on the travel of vaccinated people, Lok Sabha was informed on Friday.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, normal international travel services remain suspended.

International air travel is taking place through special arrangements, including air bubble and Vande Bharat Mission, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said in a written reply.

Such travel is not directly linked to the possession of vaccination certificates.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Further, at present, there is no multilateral protocol on the travel of COVID-19 vaccinated people.

Most countries require a negative COVID-19 test report, along with compliance with country specific COVID protocols, the minister stated.

"While there have been multilateral discussions, including under the framework of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), regarding COVID-19 vaccination certificates, no multilateral arrangements in this regard have been reached so far.

"India has been part of ongoing discussion to ensure that Indian manufactured vaccines are recognized in any multilateral arrangement.

India is also engaging with countries for mutual recognition of vaccination certificates," the reply stated.

The minister was responding to a question on whether the government has noted that those vaccinated with Covaxin are facing difficulty due to non-approval of WHO and unable to go abroad or are banned to visit many foreign countries for employment or other purposes particularly in European countries and the steps taken or interventions made by the government to resolve the issue including travel ban through diplomatic interventions.

Covaxin at present is not part of WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) and is not yet included in the list of approved vaccines for the COVAX vaccine distribution programme, Pawar informed.

All documents required for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) have been submitted by Bharat Biotech International Ltd.

(BBIL) to WHO as of July 9.

The WHO will examine the technical data provided by BBIL for taking a final decision on the issue, Pawar said.

In response to a question on total number of COVID-19 deaths that have occurred between January to May post vaccination, Pawar said till July 26, causality assessment for 179 serious and severe adverse events following immunisation cases has been approved by the National AEFI Committee of which only one death case from Maharashtra was found to be associated with COVID-19 vaccine.

This was a case of anaphylaxis which can occur with any medicinal product including vaccines and can be fatal, she said.

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