In the recent cricket Test series of England and India the 2-1 victory in favour of the visitors is not certain because a few non-playing members of Team India were found COVID-19 positive. This suggests it was the case that the 5th and the last Test had to be removed due to India’s own fault even though one player of Team India was affected by the virus. Now, the change in travel regulations for Indians traveling to the United Kingdom could be a fallout of the variation in the coach meaning that the Indians are feared as more prone to getting or spreading the COVID-19 virus with variations; that India is the source of the more deadly Delta variant, which is currently evolving into Delta Plus; and perhaps also possibly that the way in which the second Stage of the pandemic in India has been disastrous. Thus, in essence, the Englishmen may be insecure with the vulnerable Indians loitering around in their territories after sort of achieving the feat of living with the virus and opening up all things including the cricket fields to crowds , without even wearing masks. They are conveniently forgetting the basic truth 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 has done is utterly ridiculous, shocking and unjust and absurd: Indian travelers, regardless of whether they are vaccination status, require at minimum two RT-PCR tests , and will have to stay on quarantine for 10 days when they arrive in the UK. Aside from the unneeded hassle and high cost in particular for Indian students who are going to the UK to study, this implies that the vaccines in India are fakes, and anyone who is fully vaccinated in India gets ‘vaccinated’ after s/he arrives in the UK. Why? The Indian vaccination Covishield is in fact licensed by the UK as it is the only legal version of their home-made AstraZeneca vaccine that was created by Oxford University, and in even more significant ways, India has shipped millions of doses Covishield to their nation earlier. Covaxin is a 100% Indian-made product that has been proved to be as effective as other vaccine available in preventing even the serious form of the disease and hospitalization.
The Government of India and the Ministry of External Affairs have already lodged a strong protest to the United Kingdom government calling the actions discriminatory. They were also warned about adopting reciprocal action. If it remains unresolved it is likely to severely hamper relationship between the two countries. The UK foreign department has promised India that it will re-examine it, however, to date the discriminatory regulations are not removed. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also rebuked UK for these actions. But it is the WHO who has not yet approved either Covishield or Covaxin for emergency use across the world despite the former’s link to the approved AstraZeneca and the latter being proved reliable and safe. This raises a crucial concern about the legitimacy of the regulators of different nations: are all regulatory authorities only nation-specific and not valid for other regulators? This absurd situation must change at the very least to give the appropriate respect to medical experts and scientists who work tirelessly in the vaccine-making and the process of approving it in the shortest amount of time. In addition, Indians are prominently represented in the amount of medical scientists or experts in the process throughout the world in addition to the fact that India is the largest supplier of vaccines. India is the world’s largest vaccine producer in the world.
Before, the discussion was on ‘vaccine nationalism’. as the circumstances warrant, we’ll be discussing the phenomenon of the “vaccine superpowers” and the inequalities emerging out of this, with one block defying or not accepting one block. For example for instance, the Russian and Chinese vaccines are yet to be recognized across the world without WHO approval. The former US President Donald Trump still seems to hold the trump card, spending his entire budget, during his final year as president in the direction of the development of the latest Messenger RNA (mrna) vaccines specifically Pfizer-BioNTech as well as Moderna which are both readily available to users across the world. However, developing countries like India and other poor countries can’t afford the vaccines because of the very expensive prices as well as storage hassles. In the end, the WHO should address the vexing issue as it was earlier making an international exchange of the ready-to-use vaccines mandatory for all countries.
The totally unjust and discriminatory measures from the United Kingdom, almost smacking of racism, need to be lifted as soon as is possible. The WHO should speed up the process of approving Indian vaccines and the other proven vaccines from around the globe. The priority should be completely on freeing Planet Earth from the curse of pandemics on the fast track, and definitely not on the racial and ethnic rivalries, nationalist sentiments, as well as international conflicts or battles.
As per latest reports UK has added Covishield in their list of approved vaccines which would take effective from October 4th, 2021. But to confound matters further authorities have decided to not accept the CoWin vaccine certificate issued by India which means that the 10-day quarantine and testing is still in effect for Indian travelers.
Chinmay Chakravarty is a professional who is a specialist in the field of creative with over two decades of experience in the field of journalistic writing, media coordination and film script writing film dubbing, film & video making, the management of international film festivals and editing of journals and books. Proficient in providing professional services in these areas. As an officer with the Indian Information Service and superannuated from the position Director Press Information Bureau, Kolkata in November, 2019. He published his first book on his own ‘Laugh and Let Laugh’ in 2017 and his sequel “The Cheerless Driver and Other Tales 2021.