There are no issues with the CoWin app or the vaccine certification process, National Health Authority CEO RS Sharma said today, after a revised UK advisory accepted Covishield as a valid COVID-19 vaccine but seemed to indicate double-vaccinated Indians must still quarantine on arrival.
“There are no issues on CoWin with certification… system is WHO compliant. We continue to have discussions with International Civil Aviation Organisation as well. UK High Commissioner visited me on September 2… they wanted to understand the system… technical aspects,” Dr Sharma told NDTV.
“A resource has been allocated and two further conversations have happened with their team. These were technical-level conversations,” he explained.
According to a British High Commission statement yesterday, the UK government is “working with India to expand the recognition of vaccine certification.”
The updated travel advisory says that “formulations of the four listed (i.e., recognised in the UK) vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria… qualify as approved vaccines”.
However, India – currently on the UK’s ‘amber’ list of Covid- affected countries – still does not figure in a list of nations from where people arriving in the UK can avoid a 10-day quarantine period.
Specifically, the guidelines for “not fully vaccinated” people arriving from ‘amber’-listed countries continue to require “quarantine at home… for 10 days” and at least two paid COVID-19 tests.
Certification in India is a centralised national system managed through the CoWin app and portal.
The UK’s reluctance to accept Covishield – used there as Vaxzervria – and insistence that even people with two shots would face quarantine – triggered a ‘tit-for-tat threat from India yesterday.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the decision to not recognise Covishield was “discriminatory” and that India reserved the “right to take reciprocal measures” if the matter remains unresolved.
His comments came on a day Foreign Minister S Jaishankar tweeted about discussing the matter with the British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on the sidelines of the high-level 76th session of the UN General Assembly.