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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said going forward some kind of understanding would have to be developed among nations over Covid vaccination certificates rather than on particular vaccines for foreign travel. He, however, acknowledged it would be a challenge as some countries will push the viewpoint that their vaccines are a must. 

Speaking at a plenary session of the CII Annual Meeting, the foreign minister  also said that the general practice for foreign travel right now is very much testing-based rather than vaccination-based. He said this while responding to a question on the need for global vaccine passports and problems being faced by Indians in foreign travel. 

"The US does not insist on your being vaccinated to enter the US, it insists on you being RT-PCR negative before you board a plane. At the moment there is an India issue because they are not allowing people who have been in India for a certain period immediately to go to the US directly…I would say, still the general practice (for foreign travel) right now is very much testing-based rather than vaccination-based," he said. 

Jaishankar, however, pointed out that the problem began when Europe started issuing a notification that those with certain kinds of vaccinations would be exempt from quarantine. India, he added, took up that issue bilaterally with a whole lot of European countries and made sure that initially Covishield which was excluded was included.

The foreign minister also noted that travel to Europe for those who have taken Covaxin was still a problem, and he was optimistic that this was likely to change once the WHO gave its approval to it.

"Typically, the WHO takes two months plus to look at this and Covaxin filed its application on July 9, so I am hopeful that some time, maybe in September, we should get some kind of an indication (on approval for Covaxin)," the EAM said.

Jaishankar said the regulator has recognised only a limited set of vaccines so if countries only receive those who have been administered those jabs, very few foreigners will be able to enter any country.  "So, the answer to my mind will have to be some kind of understanding over vaccination certificates not on vaccines. There is a precedent for it in yellow fever, there were yellow fever certifications," he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

 

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