India against ‘vaccine passport’, says it could be ‘highly discriminatory’

New Delhi : India has voiced its strong opposition to the idea of “Vaccine Passport” floated by a few developed countries and said that it could prove to be “highly discriminatory”.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan raised the issue at the G7 Health Ministers meeting hosted by Britain on Friday and expressed India’s concern and opposition to the plan by some countries like the UK and Japan to introduce “vaccine passports” to make it easier for people who have been inoculated against COVID-19 to travel internationally.

Harsh Vardhan said at the current juncture of the Covid-19 pandemic when vaccine coverage as a percentage of population in developing countries is still low as compared to developed countries, such an initiative could prove to be highly discriminatory.

The minister also emphasised the need for greater and equitable availability of affordable, vaccines to combat the pandemic.

“In the present context of the pandemic, it is imperative to increase production of COVID-19 Vaccines and ensure their equitable supply.

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

To deliver on the Sustainable Development Goal mantra of ‘Leave No One Behind’, “we must act, move and grow together towards a healthier future!, the minister said.

India was invited as guest nation at G7 summit this year.

Harsh Vardhan also expressed support for reforms at the World Health Organization as well as a proposed pandemic treaty to ensure better preparedness in future.

He also expressed India’s support for G7 initiative of One Health Intelligence Research Hub to tackle present and future multifaceted health threats.

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