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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/22/21

UK's decision to consider vaccinated Indians as 'unvaccinated' stinks of apartheid, lacks scientific merit

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High time we let SCIENCE guide our policies, programmes and actions and science-backed evidence takes centre-stage
High time we let SCIENCE guide our policies, programmes and actions and science-backed evidence takes centre-stage
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Recent decision of the United Kingdom (UK) to consider fully vaccinated Indians along with some other nationalities as 'unvaccinated' lacks scientific merit and instead stinks of white supremacy and apartheid era. It is important to mention that 90% of the vaccines rolled out in India are Covishield. Covishield vaccine, is Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, whose research was done by UK based agencies but this vaccine under the name of 'Covishield' is being made in India and exported globally by Serum Institute of India. Serum Institute of India is also the world's largest vaccine manufacturer. Will UK also consider those vaccinated with Oxford AstraZeneca in its own nation as 'unvaccinated'?

UK announced recently it new rules where Indians will not be considered as vaccinated and have to undergo 10 days quarantine. Those who got vaccinated in other nations in South America or countries such as United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan, Thailand, Russia etc will also be considered as 'unvaccinated' by the UK. Will the UK care to explain the scientific rationale of this rule?

"This rule of UK is not only bizarre, but also a scientific blunder and a setback to global diplomacy in this era of growing interdependence. Why suddenly vaccines like Covishield which are made in India (Covishield is Oxford AstraZeneca, whose research was done by UK based agencies) have suddenly become untouchable for the UK? Will UK consider its own citizens who have received this same vaccine (but not made in India) as 'unvaccinated'?" asked Shobha Shukla, a feminist and development justice activist who leads CNS.

Even before the Covid pandemic had hit us, India was a well-established global pharmacy for producing generic lifesaving medicines and vaccines for range of diseases worldwide and supplying them to most of the low and middle income nations. Even rich nations had supplies of Indian health supplies since years.

Then why are people who are fully vaccinated with vaccines that are duly approved by vaccine regulators and the World Health Organization (WHO) such as Covishield (Oxford AstraZeneca), be suddenly considered as 'unvaccinated'? Now, 9 months after the vaccination began worldwide, UK's decision to consider those vaccinated with Oxford AstraZeneca made in India (as Covishield) as 'unvaccinated' is such a mockery of science and global solidarity.

Noted infectious diseases expert Dr Ishwar Gilada said that UK should stop this unscientific, irrational and absurd act creating third grade vaccine apartheid by treating Indians as bonded labourers, 75 years after independence. He also called upon the UK to stop stockpiling vaccines and donate to poorer nations where vaccination coverage is abysmally low.

Moreover, UK should look within and evaluate if it its own Covid response is guided by science and reason. For instance despite the WHO appeal to all nations for a global moratorium on third booster dose, the UK has disregarded it and went ahead with booster dose putting a large part of humanity on blindspot who are yet to receive their first dose of the vaccine.

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