The British government has recognised Covishield as an approved vaccine but some reports said that fully vaccinated Indians will still need to undergo mandatory 10-day home quarantine on arrival. This was after the British government reportedly raised objections to India’s vaccine certification programme.
The official website of the British government updated its guidelines to state, “Formulations of the 4 listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines. You must have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England.”
It added, “Where 2 doses of a vaccine are required for a full course, you will be able to: mix 2 different types of vaccine, for example Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna, have the 2 vaccinations under 2 different approved programmes, for example Australia and Japan, UK and USA, EU and Canada.”
The UK government has said that from 4 October, travellers would qualify as fully vaccinated if they are ‘vaccinated with a full dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines from a relevant public health body in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan or the United Arab Emirates (UAE).”
The list doesn’t include India, implying that persons with both doses of Covishield would still need to undergo mandatory quarantine.
The decision to include Covishield as an approve vaccine by the British government came a day after India threatened to take reciprocal action.
Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, according to news agency ANI, had told reporters, “The non-recogition of Covishield is a discriminating policy & impacts our citizens travelling to the UK. The EAM has raised the issue strongly with the new UK foreign secretary. I am told that certain assurances have been given that this issue will be resolved.”
The biggest casualty of the British government’s controversial policy has been Indian students, who’ve had to travel to the UK to start their new academic year. They’ve been forced to spend thousands of rupees on expensive home quarantine and mandatory Covid tests despite being fully vaccinated.