Millions of fully vaccinated people in India and Africa are confused to land Europe under the EU’s new vaccine passport(Digital Green Certificate) scheme. That’s despite the fact that they all have taken a vaccine that, on the face of it, is already authorized in the EU, as well as by the UK and the WHO.
The EU backed up by UK is allowing one brand of the AstraZeneca jab, named Vaxzevria, but its identical, Indian-made version Covishield manufactured under license by India’s Serum Institute, is not one of the vaccines listed for the EU’s new digital travel pass. It means all Indians will not be allowed to enter European nations though we have trusted and got inoculated by EU nation’s vaccine formula.
Vaccines, which have been authorized by the European Medicines Agency, are: Comirnaty (BioNTech/Pfizer), Spikevax (Moderna), Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
This has become an issue of international debate between leaders of healthcare sectors in various contries, that how vaccine passports could be discriminatory against a section of the world’s population (18 % Indian and others). An issue was raised by Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, he asked why not people who are tested before for international travel and tested on arrival are allowed to travel but some countries have now introduced the issue of vaccination. It is a real ethical concern when it comes to the concept of vaccine passports.
According to experts, it will lead to politicization of vaccine because every nation will favour their own vaccine if they do to not wish to give their economic chunk to other nations, and the poor nations will get nothing, neither money nor the immunity from the virus. WHO is the international organization and is responsible to see the various aspects health and it should see this as a matter of great speculation. Vaccine passport means that those who are vaccinated can enjoy the freedom to move and thereby can have access to larger opportunities, while others remains in lockdown.
It is also to understand that these political or profitable situations is equally hurt health of nations when some nations could make their own effective vaccine but their science has been disapproved by money making organizations.
This isn’t the first time the world has been engaged in a conversation about “vaccine passports.” The problems have been seen after smallpox pandemic in 1900 when fake vaccine passport became common thing. The vaccination process was so brutal, and partly because anti-vaccination crusaders exaggerated the risk of contracting tetanus or syphilis through the vaccine, there were plenty of people who tried to avoid vaccination by any means necessary.
There is a version of a passport currently in use – the WHO approved yellow card known as Carte Jaune, which since 1969 has been a document for travellers to certain countries to show proof of vaccination for yellow fever and other shots, without which they can’t enter some countries.
If the matter goes out of control from WHO and if nations on their own can make their passport then why not India should go like this and ban travel like the EU commission. India has 3 vaccines under EUA and can reiterate by allowing individuals into its territory who got only India approved. If this happens, there are many things that will halt like tourism including medical tourism, educational visits, business trips etc.