Wednesday Mar 29, 2023
Wednesday Mar 29, 2023

India opposes COVID-19 "vaccine passports" at G7 meeting

2021 Jun 06, 12:15, New Delhi
In this April 8, 2021 file photo, people wait in queues outside the office of the Chemists Association to demand necessary supply of the anti-viral drug remdesivir, in Pune, India. As India faces a devastating surge of new coronavirus infections overwhelming the health care system, people are turning to desperate measures to keep loved ones alive. (Photo via AP)

India has opposed the adoption of COVID-19 vaccine passports at the G7 meeting of health ministers, saying such an effort could prove to be "hugely discriminatory."

"At this stage of pandemic, it is pertinent to also discuss about India's concern over the idea of a vaccine passport. Considering the fact of lower levels of vaccination in developing countries in contrast to the developed countries and given the still unaddressed issues related to equitable and affordable access, supply and distribution of safe and effective vaccines, India would propose that implementation of vaccine passports will be hugely discriminatory and disadvantageous to the developing countries," Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday.

"India would suggest that the same should be implemented duly taking into consideration emerging evidence on efficacy of vaccines and under the overarching coordination of WHO duly attending to the anomaly of access and affordability as it exists today," he added.

India was invited this year to the meeting as a guest.

While addressing his counterparts during the virtual meeting, the Indian minister raised concerns about the availability of vaccines and low rates of inoculation in developing nations.

India is one of the countries that has not fully vaccinated its over 1.3-billion population against COVID-19.

Until Saturday the country has administered over 227 million (227,860,317) doses of vaccines.

Vardhan said that in the present context of the pandemic, it was imperative to increase the production of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure their equitable supply.

"India, which manufactures nearly 60 percent of all vaccines and holds rich expertise, is well suited to help the world augment capacity and supply," he said.

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