A health worker prepares a dose of the Covishield vaccine at a temporary health centre in New Delhi on September 22, 2021. Image Credit: AFP

New Delhi: After criticism of the new travel advisory that prescribed 10 days quarantine for fully vaccinated Indians, the UK’s new advisory has listed Covishield as an approved vaccine.

Thetravel advisory that will be implemented from October 4 at 4am says: “Formulations of the four listed vaccines -- AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda qualify as approved vaccines.” It adds further, “You must have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England”.

However, the new travel advisory said that until October 4, mixed vaccines are only permitted if you are vaccinated under the UK, Europe, USA or UK overseas vaccination program.

A British High Commission spokesperson said: “The UK is committed to opening up international travel again as soon as is practicable and this announcement is a further step to enable people to travel more freely again, in a safe and sustainable way, while protecting public health. We are engaging with the Government of India to explore how we could expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India.”

However, this updated travel advisory has been issued after severe criticism. The WHO chief scientist Dr Saumya Swaminathan has said that all countries are supposed to follow the WHO recommendations.

Talking to IANS, WHO chief scientist said: “WHO’s position is clear on this that all countries should recognize EUL vaccines. All countries are supposed to follow our recommendations. They are not binding”

India on Tuesday criticized the British government’s decision not to recognize coronavirus vaccine certificates issued by Indian authorities, calling it a “discriminatory policy’’ that will impact its citizens who want to travel to that country.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the new rules unveiled last week, which take effect next month, could force India to “impose reciprocal measures” if it isn’t resolved.

The new rules require Indians visiting the UK to quarantine themselves for 10 days and undergo COVID-19 tests even if they are fully vaccinated with Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine.

The vaccine, produced under licence by India’s Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine maker, is not recognized by the UK. The institute has not formally applied to the European Union for official approval of its AstraZeneca vaccine, which it calls Covishield.

“Here is a vaccine, Covishield, which is a licensed product of a UK company, manufactured in India, of which we have supplied 5 million doses to the UK at the request of the government of the UK. We understand that this has been used in the national health system and therefore, non-recognition of Covishield is a discriminatory policy,’’ Shringla told reporters.

India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, said Tuesday he discussed the matter with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

In a tweet, Jaishankar said he urged Truss to quickly resolve the issue.