New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (September 22) asserted that international travel should be made easier through mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certificates.
In a video message at the Global COVID Summit hosted by US President Joe Biden, PM Modi also said that India is ramping up production capacity of existing vaccines, pointing out that the supply chains of raw materials must be kept open so that vaccine supplies to other countries can be resumed, PTI reported.
"We also need to focus on addressing the pandemic's economic effects. To that end, international travel should be made easier, through mutual recognition of vaccine certificates," Modi said.
PM Modi’s statement comes on the day after the UK amended its guidelines to include the Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine in its updated international travel advisory. However, even after Covishield’s inclusion, the officials added that fully vaccinated Indian travellers will still have to undergo 10 days of quarantine in the UK notwithstanding the amendment.
The US had announced on Monday a new international travel system allowing fully vaccinated individuals to enter the country beginning early November.
Further, the PM stated, "As newer Indian vaccines get developed, we are also ramping up production capacity of existing vaccines. As our production increases, we will be able to resume vaccine supplies to others too. For this, the supply chains of raw materials must be kept open.”
“With our Quad partners, we're leveraging India's manufacturing strength to produce vaccines for Indo-Pacific region. India & South Africa have proposed a TRIPS waiver at WTO for COVID vaccines diagnostic & medicines. It'll enable rapid scaling of the fight against pandemic,” he added.
Speaking on India creating a record by vaccinating over 2.5 crore people on his 71st birthday, the PM said, “India is now running the world’s largest vaccination campaign. Recently, we vaccinated about 25 million people on a single day. Our grassroots-level healthcare system has delivered over 800 million vaccine doses so far. Over 200 million Indians are now fully vaccinated.”
“Earlier this year, we shared our vaccine production with 95 other countries, and with UN peacekeepers. And, like a family, the world also stood with India when we were going through a second wave. For the solidarity and support extended to India, I thank you all,” he said.
On Monday, India said it will resume export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines in October 2021 under the ''Vaccine Maitri'' programme. "In the fourth quarter, after completing our needs, we will produce more. Excess production will help in taking vaccine maitri forward. In the 4th quarter, under the vaccine maitri, we will help the world and fulfil our responsibilities at the COVAX,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandviya had said. India had halted the export of COVID-19 vaccines after the second wave of the pandemic wreaked havoc in the country in April.
(With agency inputs)