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No plan to introduce vaccine passport for global travel: MEA


India has no plan to introduce a vaccine passport, said Union Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs V Muraleedharan in a written reply to a question posed in Lok Sabha. The minister further added that while there have been discussions regarding Covid-19 vaccine certificates, no multilateral arrangements have been reached in this regard.    

“There is no plan to introduce vaccine passport. While there have been multilateral discussions, including under the framework of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), regarding COVID-19 vaccination certificates, no multilateral arrangements in this regard have been reached so far,” the junior minister noted. 

Some countries have rolled out a vaccine passport, a documentary proof that a person has been vaccinated used to fast-track visa applications for travel.

“India has been part of ongoing discussions to ensure that Indian manufactured vaccines are duly recognised in any multilateral arrangement. India is also engaging with countries for mutual recognition of vaccination certificates,” Muraleedharan further added.

India gives CoWIN vaccine certificates to fully vaccinated persons. MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi earlier said that India hoped that blocs like European Union will recognise the certificate for travel on a reciprocal basis. 

“Our expectation is that Indians who have been vaccinated through our domestic vaccination programme would be treated at par with those vaccinated in the EU and the CoWIN vaccination certificate would be recognized by the EU on a reciprocal basis,” said Bagchi at a media briefing earlier.

The 31-nation bloc launched its EU Digital Covid Certificate (EUCC) also known as ‘Green Passport’ to allow hassle-free intra-Europe travel for those who had taken one of the four jabs approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). While there is uncertainty over EMA’s approval of India-manufactured Covishield, 15 European nations have accepted the same.  

In India, vaccination certificates are issued for COVID-19 vaccines which are approved for emergency use in India and to only such volunteers who participated in the trials for such vaccines. Currently, three vaccines are approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use in India: Oxford-AstraZeneca’s ‘Covishield’  manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin’, and the Russian Sputnik V.