Unjust green: On vaccine passports

India must continue to monitor discrimination in vaccine passports issue

While the news that Austria, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland (not an EU member) have accommodated India’s concerns is welcome, there are still some hurdles before Indian travellers. Most of these countries are not at present accepting Indian travellers at all, as no non-essential travel is allowed to EU countries, and the spread of the Delta variant, first identified in India, has meant further travel restrictions. In addition, Indians who have taken doses of Covaxin will need to wait even longer, until this vaccine receives WHO clearance. Finally, as more nations complete their vaccine programmes, they will seek to tighten their border controls with “vaccine passports” and longer quarantines in order to curtail the spread of new variants. While it is necessary for the Government to keep up with these actions worldwide, and battle discriminatory practices, the real imperative remains to vaccinate as many Indians as possible, given that more than six months after the Indian inoculation programme began, only 4.4% of those eligible have been fully vaccinated.

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