According to UK government guidelines, countries certifying COVID-19 vaccines must satisfy a “minimum criterion” and in addition, it is working with India to introduce “phased approaches” to international travel standards.
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An expanded travel advisory to the UK refers to Covishield, a vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India and sold by Oxford/AstraZeneca. The UK has only approved 18 countries for vaccine certification, so Indian travelers to the UK will still be treated as non-vaccinated and will therefore have to stay in quarantine for ten days.
Government sources in the UK said Wednesday night that additions or changes to the approved country listings are being considered “regularly.” However, there were no further explanations regarding how vaccine certification was approved.
“As part of our recently expanded inbound vaccination policy, we recognize the following vaccines for travel abroad: Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen (J&J). The list now includes AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria, and Moderna Takeda,” a UK government spokesperson said.
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In order to achieve safety and sustainability in the reopening of travel, all countries must meet minimum criteria that include public health and broader considerations when certifying vaccination certification. We continue to work with international partners, including India, to roll out our phased approach,” the spokesperson said.
Travelers who have not been fully vaccinated, or vaccinated in a country not recognized by the UK government such as India, must take a pre-departure test, pay for day two and day eight PCR tests after arrival in England, and self-isolate for 10 days, with an option to “test to release” after five days following a negative PCR test.
COVID-19 vaccines are issued in India and Covishield is one of them, the certification of India was not recognized, A UK government source only confirms that the rollout of the inbound vaccination program to other countries and territories was always intended to be phased, based on the success of pilot programs in the US and Europe.
In England, the traffic light system that grades countries based on their COVID-19 risk levels will be officially withdrawn on October 4. Although Covishield is now recognized by the UK as an acceptable vaccine formulation, it would not offer any advantage to Indian travelers who have had Covishield vaccination and are planning to visit the UK.
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It has been strongly condemned by India, which threatened “reciprocal measures” against India if vaccinated travelers continue to be discriminated against. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Wednesday that “mutual recognition of vaccination certificates” should be used to ease international travel. US President Joe Biden hosted the Global COVID summit.