India opposes vaccine passport at G7 meet

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 06, 2021

Youngsters pose with their passport after receiving their jabs , during a special vaccination drive for students travelling abroad, at International Health Vaccination centre in Hyderabad   -  PTI

Hugely discriminatory amid lower coverage, unfair to developing nations: Harsh Vardhan

India has expressed concern and opposed the adoption of Covid-19 vaccine passport at the G7 meeting of health ministers, stating that any such move will be hugely discriminatory amid lower levels of vaccination in the developing countries compared to the developed ones.

The G7 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.

“At this stage of pandemic, it is pertinent to also discuss India’s concern over the idea of a vaccine passport, given the lower levels of vaccination of population in the developing countries in contrast to the developed, and given the unaddressed issues of equitable and affordable access, distribution and supply of safe and effective vaccines,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday, addressing the meeting. India was invited as a guest to this year’s G-7 meeting.

Less coverage

Vardhan highlighted that vaccine passports will be disadvantageous for people in the developing countries as the vaccine coverage is far less than that in the developed countries.

Several developed countries, including the US and the UK, had talked about introducing vaccine passports for allowing their citizens to travel abroad or for visitors from other countries to come in.

The EU has also been reportedly working to introduce a vaccine travel document for tourists.

Ramping up supplies

India is currently producing 60 per cent of the world’s vaccines and is well suited to fulfil the global needs, Vardhan noted during the G7 meet. He added that it is imperative to increase the production of vaccines and ensure their equitable supply.

It is to be noted that India’s Covaxin vaccine has still not got approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for Emergency Use Listing (EUL). On Friday, VK Paul, Niti Aayog, Member-Health, had said that the government is pursuing with both Bharat Biotech and WHO for the listing.

Meanwhile, on May 25, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech said it is likely to get EUL approval from the WHO between July and September.

Corona tally & jabs

Besides this, India administered 22,78,60,317 vaccines in the country with 36,50,080 vaccine doses given in the last 24 hours till 8:00 am. In the phase-3 vaccination drive for 18-44 age group, India inoculated the first dose to 2,59,69,460 beneficiaries and the second dose to 1,19,137 people.

Furthermore, India reported less than 2 lakh cases at 1,20,529 on Saturday, lowest in nearly two months, the Health Ministry data showed. This is also the ninth straight day when the country reported less than 2 lakh cases. Cumulatively, India reported 2,86,94,879 infections of which 15,55,248 were the active cases, those who recovered were 2,67,95,549 and the death toll was 3,44,082.

It is to be noted that India’s active caseload is also below 20 lakhs for five successive days. A net decline of 80,745 is witnessed in the last 24 hours and active cases are now only 5.42 per cent of the country's total positive cases. Besides this, daily recoveries continue to surpass the daily new infections for the 23rd consecutive day. 1,97,894 recoveries were registered in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, a total of 20,84,421 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours till 8:00 am in the country and cumulatively India has conducted over 36.1 crore tests at 36,11,74,142 so far. Also, the weekly positivity rate is currently at 6.89 per cent while the daily positivity rate stands at 5.78 per cent on Saturday. It has remained less than 10 per cent for 12 consecutive days now.

Published on June 05, 2021

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