At G20 Summit, Modi to seek mutual recognition of jabs

PM Modi to call upon G20 leaders to ensure mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccines, inoculation certificates

The EU leaders and the Italian Prime Minister lauded the Government of India for the progress in inoculating people with anti-Covid-19 vaccines

Italy's Prime Minister, Mario Draghi (R) greets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi upon his arrival for their meeting at the Chigi palace in Rome on October 29, 2021, ahead of an upcoming G20 summit of world leaders to discuss climate change, Covid-19 and the post-pandemic global recovery. Credit: AFP Photo

The G20 Summit in Rome during the weekend is likely to see the leaders of the rich nations endorsing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal to work out a global mechanism for mutual recognition of the anti-Covid-19 vaccines and inoculation certificates issued by the governments of the different countries.

Modi arrived in Rome early on Friday to attend the summit, which would be hosted by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Saturday and Sunday.

He is expected to call upon the G20 nations to ensure mutual recognition of the anti-Covid-19 vaccines developed or being developed and the certificates issued to the inoculated people by the authorities in countries around the world.

The Prime Minister had a meeting with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in Rome on Friday. He discussed the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic during the meeting.

He also had a bilateral meeting with the Italian Prime Minister.

Also read: PM Modi to hold one-on-one meeting with Pope Francis

The EU leaders and the Italian Prime Minister lauded the Government of India for the progress in inoculating people with anti-Covid-19 vaccines, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla said. He said that Modi had also discussed with the EU leaders and the Italian Prime Minister climate change and the situation in Afghanistan.

 

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal said that India’s proposal for mutual recognition of the vaccines and the inoculation certificates had already received “tremendous support” from the other G20 nations.

Goyal is New Delhi’s ‘sherpa’ for the G20 Summit and he has been in Rome for the past three days overseeing preparations for the Prime Minister’s participation in the conclave.

He told journalists in Rome on Friday that the G20 had endorsed India’s position that extensive Covid-19 immunisation was “a global public good”.

He said that the discussions were going on among the officials of the G20 nations to incorporate in the summit communiqué the call for mutual recognition of the Covid-19 vaccines, test reports and the inoculation certificates in order to ease international travels and thus help revive the global economy hit hard by the pandemic.

“There is a broad consensus on the issue. All nations want to bring back normalcy,” said the Commerce and Industry Minister.

India had to press some European Union nations hard earlier this year to make them individually exempt its citizens inoculated with Covaxin or Covishield from travel restrictions as the two anti-Covid-19 vaccines had not been among the ones approved by the bloc for its “Green Pass” programme.

The “Green Pass” – formally known as the EU Digital Covid Certificate – was recognised by the members of the EU from July 1.

It is proof in digital format or on paper that a person has been vaccinated against the Covid-19, tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 infection or recovered from infection.

Some of the EU nations later started recognising the vaccination certificates issued by the Government of India to the people inoculated with Covishield, which was developed by the AstraZeneca PLC and the Oxford University and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in India.

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The Covaxin, however, is still hardly recognised by any other country, as the World Health Organization has not yet approved it and put it on its Emergency Use List.

The British Government’s new travel rules, which came into effect on October 4 last, too had initially refused to recognise travellers inoculated with Covishield in India as fully vaccinated and to exempt them from mandatory quarantine requirements on arrival in the UK.

After New Delhi had warned of “reciprocal measures”, the British Government had on September 22 revised its travel rules to recognise the Covishield as one of the “approved” anti-Covid-19 vaccines, but still refused to recognise the certificates issued to people, who had been inoculated with the jab in India.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Government finally relented and agreed to exempt travellers inoculated with the two doses of the anti-Covid-19 Covishield vaccine in India from mandatory quarantine requirement on arrival in the UK.

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