The Covid-19 vaccination certificate generated through the CoWin application (app) is “foolproof” and linked to the level of vaccination centre with information validated on the system, top government officials said.
Responding to reports that the UK has raised doubts about vaccination certificates, even as it reviewed its order not to recognise Covishield-vaccinated persons, officials said India’s digital platform has proved itself.
Ironically, much as the UK is considered a first-world country, it still accepts anachronistic hand-written slips as medical certificates of vaccination from institutions like the CDC of the US.
In a recent press conference, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said the union government and states have “line data” on those vaccinated, down to names, telephone numbers and addresses.
While reports on the UK’s alleged misgivings did the rounds, National Health Authority chief executive RS Sharma, who also heads the CoWin team, said he was unaware of any queries over data. “I’m not aware of any concern being raised by any of their (UK) officials over Covid vaccine certificate generated by CoWin. It is a foolproof certificate with each and every information validated on the system,” Sharma said.
The UK on 22 September said Covishield to its list of approved Covid-19 jabs for travel to the country. But confusion persisted as despite recognising Covishield, it is not yet on the approved list of 17 countries.
The CoWin system captures the batch number of the vaccine administered to any individual, name of the vaccinator, date and time of vaccination along with recipients details. “Few countries have this kind of a robust system,” said another senior official.
The development comes days after India raised strong objections to the non-recognition of Covishield by the UK.
On 22 September, amid a row over the UK’s vaccine recognition policy, the UK government issued an updated international travel advisory to include AstraZeneca Covishield among the eligible Covid-19 vaccine formulations but kept India out of the 18 countries on an approved vaccinations list, requiring Indians to follow rules set out for “non-vaccinated” travellers.
Despite the inclusion of Covishield, Indian travellers are not exempt from the quarantine rules under the UK’s new international travel norms that will come into force from 4 October, with the British officials in New Delhi maintaining that the main issue is vaccine certification and not the vaccine and that both India and the UK are holding talks to mutually resolve the matter.