Following a massive backlash from India over its “racist” and "discriminatory" travel restrictions, the United Kingdom (UK) finally recognised Covishield in its list of approved COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, 22 September.
The new travel policy in the UK, which is set to kick in from 4 October, had left many Indians confused as it required even the fully vaccinated travellers to undergo COVID-19 tests before departure and after arrival, and a mandatory 10-day quarantine when they land in the UK.
What further infuriated people was the fact that the rules were different for other travellers who have been inoculated with vaccines such as Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson.
Pertinently, what is puzzling about the refusal was that Vaxzevria, the UK version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is branded as Covishield in India, are the same vaccine, to the extent where India even exported 5 million doses of Covishield to UK to help with their vaccine rollout earlier this year.
But even though the UK government has now recognised Covishield, according to the new rules, there is no respite to Indian travellers since they would still have to undergo all the COVID-19 tests and even the 10-day quarantine.
So what is making the UK government refuse the authenticity of the Indian shot? What are their concerns? And what steps can the union government take to rectify this issue?
To understand this, for today’s episode we spoke with health journalist Divya Rajagopal and former Indian ambassador Anil Tringunayat. Tune in!