Planning Minister Asad Umar questioned on Thursday the rationale behind British authorities’ decision not to accept the Chinese anti-Covid vaccines, highlight concerns among the Pakistani citizens, who had been administered such jabs.
The minister, who also heads the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) – the national anti-Covid strategy – took to Twitter to criticise the UK government, which he said, “decides gora certificates & vaccines are ok but most non gora vaccine certificates & chinese vaccines are not”.
UK decides gora certificates & vaccines are ok but most non gora vaccine certificates & chinese vaccines are not. This despite widespread evidence of fake certificates in US & Europe. Chinese vaccines are WHO approved. Health considerations or hangover of a colonial mindset? pic.twitter.com/j2TQTY8gVn— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) October 7, 2021
The British government had taken Pakistan off its ‘Travel Red List’ on September 22 after putting the country on no-travel list for five months. However, as per the latest decision, the UK would still not accept Chinese vaccines.
As most of the Pakistan’s population has got Chinese vaccines, therefore they would need to self-isolate for up to 10 days, which is being dubbed as UK’s discriminatory approach vis-a-vis Pakistan that has always given significant importance to its relations with the UK.
The minister said the UK took the decision despite widespread evidence of fake certificates in the US and Europe. “Chinese vaccines are WHO [World Health Organization] approved. Health considerations or hangover of a colonial mindset?” the minister questioned.
UK’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner; however, said that the UK would accept Pakistan’s vaccine certificates issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).
However, the statement generated a muddle as to what was the actual status of Pakistani visitors.
I told you so, just to divert the anger over Cricket Tour Cancelation, UK Govt gave temporary relief, took Pakistan off corona Red List, now within weeks imposed a new restriction, Chinese Vaccine not accepted, Knowing full well that majority of Pakistanis got Chinese vac https://t.co/ZnXDJzTW9g— Muhammad Tariq Khan 🇵🇰 (@Spugmay) October 7, 2021
The WHO had validated the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine for use in June 2021, while assuring countries, funders, and communities that the vaccine met the international standards for efficacy, safety, and manufacturing.
Unlike the UK, the US authorities are ready to welcome fully vaccinated foreigners from November 21, as long as they have had a full course of one of the medications listed for emergency use by the WHO, including those from Chinese developers, Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech that are not used in the US.
Overall, 71 countries of the world accept Chinese vaccination, particularly Sinopharm and Sinovac. They include many EU countries like Austria, Finland, Greece, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland etc, besides a number of Middle Eastern states.
Saudi Arabia has announced to accept six vaccines, including Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm and Sinovac. Qatar has approved Oxford/ AsraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sinopharm for the travellers.
Four vaccines got the nod in the Emirates, including Sinopharm, Oxford/AstraZeneca, ie Covishield, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sputnik V and Moderna.
According to the critics, the decision is not only discriminatory but also seemed to be politically motivated. Tariq Khan, a UK-based social activist, said the UK had given Pakistan a temporary relief by removing it from the red list just to divert the anger over cricket tour cancellation.
“Now within weeks imposed a new restriction, Chinese Vaccine not accepted, Knowing full well that majority of Pakistanis got Chinese vaccines,” he said on Twitter.
The UK restrictions will cause inconvenience to a large number of Pakistani students, expats and professionals, who regularly travel to the UK. The Pakistani citizens have urged the UK to undo the decision as it was illogical since it lacked realistic data as the primary consideration behind the move.
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