Vaccine passports have suddenly become a rage everywhere. With almost two years of COVID-induced restrictions on travel, things are finally starting to look up as many countries are inoculating their citizens at a rapid pace. Even with dipping cases of COVID and deaths caused by the virus, packing your bags and hopping on to the flight to your favourite getaway destination is not so easy, especially if it requires cross the international borders. Vaccine passports are being seen as a way for people to travel hassle-free and the most important eligibility criteria is being fully vaccinated.
Indians are still on the fence about the whole vaccine passports, in fact, the two vaccines largely administered to the masses, Covaxin and Covishield are yet to get recognized by many international countries. But it is mostly red-tape bureaucracy, which is likely to be resolved by the time travel restrictions are relaxed in most countries. Even so, vaccine passports are turning into a hot commodity, with Japan being the latest to accept applications for the same.
Where does India stand on vaccine passports?
India has made it clear that it has no plans to introduce vaccine passport. Recently, at the G7 plus ministerial session in June, the then-Union health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan had opposed the idea of vaccine passport, saying it is immature to implement such a move. Now, in response to a series of questions on vaccine passports, Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs said there are no such plans.
"There is no plan to introduce vaccine passport. While there have been multilateral discussions, including under the framework of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), regarding COVID-19 vaccination certificates, no multilateral agreements in this regard have been reached so far," V. Muraleedharan said in a statement.
However, he assured that India is in talks to ensure the Indian vaccines and vaccine certificates are recognised internationally.
"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," he added.