UK has no concerns with India's Covid-19 vaccination certificate portal Cowin: RS Sharma

The UK has clarified that it has no concerns with India’s Covid-19 vaccination certificate issuing portal Cowin, RS Sharma, Chairman of the Empowered Group on Vaccine Administration (Co-WIN) told ET. Sharma who is also the CEO of the National Health Authority said that there have been two meetings with the UK authorities this month and there are “no issues” with respect to Cowin.

“The British side has never shown any concern about the Cowin certification process to the best of my knowledge, and they have also clarified the same,” said Sharma adding that there was no written communication from the UK anywhere stating that they will not accept certificates issued through Cowin.

Earlier in the day, Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India said on Twitter that he had excellent “technical discussions” with RS Sharma and the National Health Authority. “Neither side raised technical concerns with each other’s certification process. An important step forward in our joint aim to facilitate travel and fully protect public health of UK and India,” he tweeted.

In response, Sharma said on Twitter that he echoed views of Ellis. “…this will be instrumental in resuming socio-economic activities between India and UK. We also look forward to deepening ties between @AyushmanNHA and @NHSX, as we collaborate to build a digital continuum of healthcare services.”

The UK govt’s decision to not accept vaccination through Cowin has been slammed by several top leaders and bureaucrats of the country which includes Niti Aayog chief Amitabh Kant.

“India’s vaccination have been driven by an indigenously developed, robust digital platform, Cowin. It generates digital vaccine certificates in real time. Certificates are verifiable & linked to a persons Aadhar card. Entire process is seamless, digital & verifiable. Way ahead of UK,” said Kant on Twitter.

Cowin, which is so far managed India’s vaccination drive is also being adopted by several nations which want to emulate the technology and the model behind it. India’s has committed to sharing its technology know how with nations that are interested in building a similar platform for vaccinations in their countries.

“If UK or any other country have a problem with India’s vaccine certificate, it’s because of their own “Tech Inferiority complex”. Our certificates are QR coded- digitally verified, available via Aarogya Setu, CoWin, Whatsapp, DigiLocker amongst others,” said Arvind Gupta, former CEO of myGov.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong statement by saying that international travel should be made easier through mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, amid several countries adopting different sets of rules to allow foreigners to enter their territory in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“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 in his video remarks at the Global COVID Summit hosted by US President Joe Biden.



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