Editorial: Vaccine racism

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A series of bizarre political moves by the UK government – refusing to recognize Covishield as a legitimate Covid-19 vaccine only to backtrack later amid widespread fury, then raising questions about the certificate process vaccine from India – smacks of racist streak. The embarrassing saga began with the announcement of a new set of rules for foreign travelers. Under these rules, Indians who have received both doses of the Covishield vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), will be considered unvaccinated and will have to self-isolate for 10 days. In one day he realized the insanity and included Covishield in the revised list of approved vaccines after India warned of reciprocal measures. However, Indians traveling to the UK will still need to be quarantined as the UK government has no confidence in the vaccination certificates issued by India. While the initial decision to exclude Covishield from the list of approved vaccines, despite being identical to the AstraZeneca vaccine used for the UK mass vaccination campaign, is anti-scientific, raising doubts about the India’s certification process amounts to being racist and discriminatory. Vaccine certification in India is a centralized national system managed through the CoWIN app and portal. Covishield was developed by researchers at the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and already has Emergency Use Approval (EUA) status from the World Health Organization. It should be noted that 88% of the eligible Indian population has been vaccinated with Covishield.

As amusing as it sounds, the UK government ordinance says that a person vaccinated in countries like the United Arab Emirates, India, Turkey, Jordan, Thailand, Russia or the continents of Africa and from South America, will be considered unvaccinated and will undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arrival. However, travelers from Australia, Bahrain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and South Korea, who were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine made in the UK for their vaccination schedule, were excluded. from the list. Faced with such openly discriminatory policies, one wonders if the former colonial power is still not in a position to get rid of the hangovers of the past. India has rightly responded to British order in strong terms, reserving the right to reciprocate. The decision is all the more surprising given that the Serum Institute had provided Britain with five million doses of Covishield to vaccinate its citizens. The Center must now react appropriately and ensure that no Indians come to the UK. Unfortunately, the WHO appears to be a silent spectator of the practice of vaccine racism. Shockingly, countries around the world are unable to come together on uniform regulatory quality standards for vaccine trials and travel passports.


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