Talks ongoing on mutual recognition of vaccine certification at G20, outcome expected

Insight Online News

Rome/New Delhi, Oct 30 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi took up the issue of mutual recognition of the Covid-19 vaccine certification during his meeting with the European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. India has also proposed mutual recognition of vaccine certification at the G20, and it is expected to figure in the outcome document, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said.

Addressing a briefing on Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with the EU representatives, he said: “The issue of vaccination certification was, I think discussed especially with the EU representatives. And I think the issue of easier access, travel with normalisation that is increasingly seen as countries recover from the COVID pandemic was certainly discussed.

“There was a conversation on mutual recognition of vaccines. I think there is a sense that this is one very, I would say, doable mechanism through which we can facilitate easier international travel. The details of this will have to be worked out bilaterally.

“I think the European Union; European Council can only provide general guidelines. Having said that, I think quite a few EU countries have already responded to our proposal, we are already making some headway in that regard.”

On the issue of vaccine certification figuring in the G20, he said: “We have proposed a mutual recognition of vaccination certification even at the G20. But as we speak, discussions on an outcome document are still on. So I think most countries are quite happy with the idea of facilitating smoother international travel.

“Whether that detail is something that will emerge is yet to be seen but the fact of the matter is that a number of countries feel that easier access and easier travel is something that we need to collectively work on. And that point that the Prime Minister made, I think has been received and noted.”

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, the Sherpa of the G20 process, said at a briefing yesterday that “we got tremendous support from the G20 Nations for our suggestion on mutual recognition of travel documents, including testing and vaccine certificates”.

He said “as regards the support on COVID vaccines being mutually recognised, by and large there is broad consensus, because all the nations wish to restart travel, restart economic activity and bring back normalcy. The pace at which vaccination is increasing, the huge role that India is playing both in the vaccination plan in India and the role that we are playing and we propose to play in the coming months and years to help the world vaccinate has been very, very widely welcomed by almost all the G20 nations, and we are working towards an acceptable language to bring that within the G20 framework.”

Elaborating, he said “We also very much are focusing to see how we can help build the capacity for faster approvals or let’s say for larger number of vaccines to be approved because we are seeing a number of vaccines developed in different parts of the world. So we are looking at strengthening the processes so that more vaccines, if found appropriate within the scientific framework, get approval. But in terms of recognition of vaccines and their certifications, we all also recognise what nations would have as public policy and their own requirements of transparency, efficacy, or public health and safety.”

UNIINDIA

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