India strongly opposes 'COVID-19 vaccine passport' idea at G7 meet
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has conveyed India's concerns and strong opposition to the idea of a "COVID-19 vaccine passport" at the G7 Health Ministers' Meeting on Friday. He said vaccine passports—proof of vaccination to travel abroad—would be "highly discriminatory and disadvantageous" to developing nations where the percentage of the population immunized against COVID-19 is way lower compared to developed countries. Here's more.
"Vaccine passports will be disadvantageous for people of the developing countries as their vaccine coverage is far less than that of the developed countries," Vardhan said at the virtually-held G7 meet. To note, India was invited to the G7 summit as a guest this year.
"It is pertinent to also discuss India's concern over the idea of a vaccine passport," said Vardhan. "Considering the fact of the lower levels of vaccination of the population in developing countries in contrast to the developed countries and given the still-unaddressed issues...India would propose that the implementation of a vaccine passport will be hugely discriminatory and disadvantageous to the developing countries," he added.
"India would suggest that the same (vaccine passports) should be implemented duly taking into consideration emerging evidence of the efficacy of vaccines and under the over-arching coordination by WHO (World Health Organization) duly attending to the anomaly of access and affordability...," said Vardhan.
Expressed India's concern strong opposition to 'Vaccine Passport' at this juncture of the #pandemic— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) June 4, 2021
With vaccine coverage as a % of population in developing countries still low compared to developed countries, such an initiative could prove to be highly discriminatory.@G7 pic.twitter.com/zh6nhkEfbv
Simply put, a vaccine passport is nothing but proof of being vaccinated against certain diseases—in this case, COVID-19—that passengers would be required to furnish when they are traveling to another country. While no country has so far made COVID-19 vaccine passports mandatory for allowing travelers from other countries, several European nations and American airlines are reportedly encouraging passengers to submit their vaccination certificates online.
At the G7 meet, Vardhan also said that it is crucial to boost the production of COVID-19 vaccines and also ensure their equitable supply at this stage of the pandemic. "India, which manufactures nearly 60% of all vaccines and holds rich expertise is well suited to help the world augment capacity and supply," added the Health Minister.
During his address, Vardhan also conveyed India's support to various reforms at the WHO and the pandemic treaty proposed for ensuring better preparedness in the future. He also called for increased global collaborations at the G7 meeting. "To deliver on the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) mantra of 'Leave No One Behind', we must act, move & grow together towards a healthier future!" he tweeted.