UK: Vaccination certification must meet a “minimum criteria” for travelling

With India’s vaccination certification not under the list of 18 approved countries, Indian travellers to the United Kingdom will continue to be recognised as non-vaccinated and will thus have to quarantine for ten days upon arrival.

The UK government has announced that COVID-19 vaccination certification from every country must meet a “minimum criteria” and that it is with India on a “phased approach” to achieve its international travel norms. It arrives after Covishield, the Serum Insititute of India, manufactured Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, recognised as eligible to an enlarged UK travel bulletin on Wednesday.

But with India’s vaccination certification not under the list of 18 approved countries, Indian travellers to the United Kingdom will continue to be recognised a non-vaccinated and will thus have to quarantine for ten days upon the arrival.

Following uncertainty after the release, the UK government sources said on Wednesday that additions or modifications to the list of approved countries are kept under “regular consideration”, but there was no further explanation on the criteria required for accepting a country’s vaccination certification.

“As part of our recently expanded inbound vaccination policy, we recognise the following vaccines Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen (J&J), for the purposes of international travel. This now includes the formulations AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda,” said a UK government spokesperson to PTI.

“Our top priority remains to protect public health and reopening travel in a safe and sustainable way, which is why vaccine certification from all countries must meet the minimum criteria taking into account public health and wider considerations. We continue to work with international partners, including India, to roll out our phased approach,” the spokesperson said to PTI.

Travellers who are not completely vaccinated or are vaccinated from a country such as India who is currently not on UK’s recognised list, must undergo a test before departing, pay for the day two and day eight PCR test after arriving in England and self-quarantine for ten days, with an option to “test to release” after five days following a negative PCT test.

Regarding the backlash over India’s vaccination certification not being acknowledged despite Covishield being one of two primary COVID-19 vaccines registered in India, UK government sources would only say that the rollout of its vaccination programme to other countries and territories was always meant as a “phased approach”, creating on the progress of pilots with the US and Europe.

From October 4, England’s system of red, amber and green countries based on the levels of COVID-19 severity will be officially scrapped.

However, despite Covishield being recognised within the UK’s suitable vaccine formulations, it will not benefit those vaccinated with Covishield planning a UK visit. The Indian government has expressed its strong disapproval of the move and cautioned of “reciprocal measures” if vaccinated Indian travellers continue to be treated in a “discriminatory” way.

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