UK Vs India: The COVID-19 Vaccine Vexation!
What the UK government has done is very wrong, unexpected and absurd: that the Indian travelers, irrespective of vaccinated or not, will have to undergo at least two RT-PCR tests and have to be on 10-day quarantine after arriving there. Apart from the unnecessary inconvenience and exorbitant costs involved, particularly for the Indian students going there to study, this basically implies that the vaccines in India are fakes, and a fully vaccinated person in India becomes ‘unvaccinated’ once s/he arrives in UK. Why? The Indian vaccine Covishield is in fact a licensed product of UK, being the officially valid version of their homemade AstraZeneca vaccine developed by the Oxford University, and in more significantly India had exported millions of doses of Covishield to their country earlier. The fully India-made Covaxin has been proved to be as effective as any other vaccine of the world in preventing at least the serious form of the disease and hospitalization.
Earlier the discussion had been about ‘vaccine nationalism’; now as the situation warrants we’ll have to discuss about the syndrome of the ‘vaccine superpowers’ and the inequalities emerging out of that with one block denying or not recognizing the other block. For example, the Russian and the Chinese vaccines are yet to be accepted across the globe without WHO approval. Former US President Donald Trump still seems to have the trump card by giving everything, during his last year in office, into the development of the most modern Messenger RNA (mrna) vaccines, namely Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which are available for use across the globe. However, developing countries like India and other poor countries cannot afford these vaccines due to very high prices and the storage hassles. Ultimately, the WHO has to take up such vexing issues as it had earlier made international sharing of the ready vaccines compulsory for all countries.
The absolutely wrong and the discriminatory measures of the United Kingdom, almost smacking of racism, must be lifted as soon as possible and the WHO must expedite the approval process of the Indian vaccines and other proven vaccines of the world. The priority should be completely on freeing Planet Earth from the curse of the pandemic in the fast track, and definitely not on rivalries, racism, nationalism and bilateral or international fights or skirmishes.
As per latest reports UK has included Covishield in their list of approved vaccines which would take effect only from 4th October 2021. But to confound matters further the authorities have refused to accept India's CoWin vaccine certificates, and this means the 10-day quarantine plus tests continues still for Indian travelers.