In the recent cricket test Series between England and India the 2-1 win for the visitors remains in doubt because some non-playing players of Team India were found COVID-19 positive. This implies that fifth final Test had to be cancelled only because of India’s fault even though not any of the players of the team got the infection. Now, the change in travel regulations for Indians visiting United Kingdom could be a consequence of the variation in the coach meaning that the Indians are thought to be more susceptible to contracting or transmitting the COVID-19 virus and its variants; that India is the source of the more deadly Delta variant that is becoming the Delta Plus variant; and maybe the way in which they handled the handling of the Second Phase of the pandemic in India has been disastrous. Thus, in essence, the Englishmen may be insecure with the vulnerable Indians loitering around in their territory following having the honor of living with the virus and opening up all things including the cricket grounds to crowds without even masks. They are conveniently forgetting the fact that vaccine breakthroughs are possible as well for all people who have been fully vaccinated all over the world and not just India.
This is what the UK government did is extremely wrong, unexpected and absurd in that Indian travelers, no matter if they’re vaccination status or not, will be required to take at least two RT-PCR test and to stay on quarantine for 10 days following their arrival. Other than the inconvenient expense and hassle specifically for Indian students going there for study means that the vaccines available in India are not genuine, and anyone who is fully vaccinated in India is considered to be unvaccinated once they arrive in the UK. Why? Why? Indian vaccination Covishield is actually an approved product from the UK as it is the legally valid version of their homemade AstraZeneca vaccine that was created by Oxford University, and in even more significant ways, India has exports millions of doses Covishield into their country prior to. Covaxin is a 100% Indian-made product that has been proven that it is as efficient as other vaccine of the world in preventing at least the most serious forms of the disease and hospitalization.
The Government of India and the Ministry of External Affairs have already lodged a formal protest against the United Kingdom government calling the measures discriminatory and they have also warned against adopting actions in reciprocity. If it remains unresolved it is likely to severely hamper good relations between India and the United Kingdom. The UK Foreign Department has assured India of a review into it, however, to date the discriminatory laws haven’t been lifted. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also expressed its displeasure at UK for its actions. But it is the WHO who has not yet approved either Covishield or Covaxin for emergency use all over the globe despite the former’s relationship to the FDA-approved AstraZeneca and the latter being proven to be safe and effective. This raises a crucial concern about the legitimacy of the drug regulatory authorities in different countries: are all the regulatory authorities only nation-specific and not applicable to other regulatory bodies? This absurdity must be addressed at the very least to give the proper respect to the medical experts and scientists who work continuously in the process of making vaccines and approval processes in the fastest possible time. And the Indians figure prominently in the amount of medical scientists or experts that are part of the process across the world in addition to the fact that India is the largest supplier of vaccines. India has been the largest vaccine supplier to the world.
In the past, there was discussion about ‘vaccine nationalism’. now as the situation warrants we’ll need to talk about the concept of “vaccine superpowers,” and the inequalities emerging out of the fact that one block is either denial of or not accepting another block. For instance it is the case that the Russian and Chinese vaccines have yet to be recognized across the globe , without WHO approval. Former US president Donald Trump still seems to have the advantage by investing everything, during his last year in office for the development of the most up-to-date Messenger RNA (mrna) vaccines including Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna, which are widely available across the world. But, countries in the developing world like India as well as other countries with low incomes cannot afford these vaccines due to the expensive prices as well as storage difficulties. In the end, the WHO has to take up such vexing issues as it was earlier making the international sharing of prepared vaccines mandatory for all countries.
The absolutely wrong and the discriminatory measures that are being implemented by the United Kingdom, almost smacking of racism, should be removed as soon as possible and the WHO should speed up the approval process of the Indian vaccines and other scientifically proven vaccines from around the globe. The priority should be completely in removing Planet Earth from the curse of the pandemic quick time frame, and not on rivalries, racism, nationalism and bilateral or international fights or skirmishes.
According to reports from the last few days, UK has included Covishield on their list approved vaccines that will go into effect on October 4, 2021. However, to complicate matters, authorities have decided to not accept the CoWin vaccine certificate issued by India, and this means the 10-day quarantine and testing continues still for Indian travelers.
Chinmay Chakravarty is a professional skilled in the field of creativity with more than two years of experience in journalistic writing, media coordination, film script writing, film dubbing, film and video making, management of international film festivals and editing journals and books. Proficient in providing professional services in these related fields. was an officer in the Indian Information Service and superannuated from the post Director Press Information Bureau, Kolkata in November, 2019. Published his first solo book “Laugh and Let Laugh’ in 2017 and his sequel “The Cheerless Driver and Other Tales’ in 2021.