UK Vs India: The COVID-19 Vaccine Hassle!

In the recent Cricket Test Series between England and India, the 2-1 result in favor of the visitors is still in the balance due to the fact that some members of the non-playing India team tested positive for COVID-19, which which implies that the fifth and final Test had to be canceled only because of India despite the fact that not a single player in the team contracted the infection. Now the change in travel regulations for Indians visiting the UK could be a consequence of cricket being suspended, meaning there are fears that Indians are more likely to catch or spread the COVID-19 virus with their variants; that India is the creator of the most infectious Delta variant which is again mutating into Delta Plus; and perhaps also possibly that the handling of the Second Wave of the pandemic in India had been disastrous. So basically the English could feel insecure with vulnerable Indians roaming their territories after achieving the feat of living with the virus and opening everything, including cricket stadia, to the crowd without the need for masks. They are conveniently forgetting the basic truth that vaccine advances are also possible for fully vaccinated people around the world, not just in India.

What the UK government has done is so wrong, unexpected and absurd that Indian travellers, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not, will have to undergo at least two RT-PCR tests and be quarantined from 10 days after arriving there. Apart from the unnecessary inconvenience and exorbitant costs involved, particularly for Indian students going there to study, this basically means that vaccinations in India are bogus, and a fully vaccinated person in India becomes ‘unvaccinated’ once you arrive in the UK. Why? The Indian vaccine Covishield is in fact a UK licensed product as it is the officially valid version of their AstraZeneca homemade vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and more importantly India had exported millions of doses of Covishield to your country above. Made entirely in India, Covaxin has been shown to be as effective as any other vaccine in the world in preventing at least the severe form of illness and hospitalization.

The Government of India and the Foreign Office have already lodged a strong protest with the UK Government calling for discriminatory measures and also warning against reciprocal action. If not resolved, this will seriously hamper the healthy bilateral relations between the two countries. The UK Foreign Office has assured India that it will review it again, but the discriminatory regulations have not been lifted so far. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also rebuked the UK for such actions. However, it is the WHO that has yet to approve either Covishield or Covaxin for emergency use worldwide despite the former’s link to the approved AstraZeneca and the latter having been shown to be safe and effective. This raises a crucial question about the authenticity of the respective drug regulatory authorities of various countries: are all regulators country-specific and not valid for other regulators? This absurd situation must change, if only to give due respect to the scientists and medical experts tirelessly involved in making vaccines and the approval process in the shortest possible time. And Indians rank high in the number of medical scientists or experts involved in the process around the world, apart from the fact that India has been the largest supplier of vaccines in the world.

Previously, the discussion had been about ‘vaccine nationalism’; Now that the situation warrants it, we will have to discuss the ‘vaccine superpowers’ syndrome and the inequalities that arise from it, with one bloc denying or not recognizing the other bloc. For example, the Russian and Chinese vaccines have not yet been accepted worldwide without WHO approval. Former US President Donald Trump still seems to have the upper hand by giving it his all, during his last year in office, to the development of the latest messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, namely Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. , which are available for use worldwide. the world. However, developing countries like India and other poor countries cannot afford these vaccines due to very high prices and storage problems. Ultimately, the WHO has to address issues as vexing as it had previously made international sharing of prepared vaccines mandatory for all countries.

The absolutely wrong and discriminatory measures of the UK, almost redolent of racism, must be lifted as soon as possible and the WHO must speed up the approval process for Indian vaccines and other vaccines tested in the world. The priority must be entirely 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.

According to the latest reports, the United Kingdom has included Covishield in its list of approved vaccines that would come into effect only from October 4, 2021. But to confuse things even more, the authorities have refused to accept the certificates of CoWin vaccine from India, and this means the 10-day quarantine plus testing. continues even for Indian travellers.

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