Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, travelling has taken a backseat.
However, people have slowly started travelling for important work and urgent personal reasons. Even though the airlines, railways and other public transportation systems are trying their best to maintain social distancing and keeping everything sanitized, it is still highly unsafe to travel.
Though as the news of many successful vaccine trials has emerged, many airline companies across the world are hoping that travelling can soon become normal again.
But the problem is, will India make COVID vaccination mandatory for passengers?
Should Vaccination Be Mandatory?
Even after developing a successful vaccine, it is difficult to vaccinate every individual. Many people reject the concept of a vaccine. The anti-vaxxers refuse to inject vaccines as they believe it is unnatural and may harm the human body in the long run.
This might seem funny to many people but look around yourself, a lot of people doubt the social distancing norms and the importance of wearing a mask to prevent coronavirus.
The pro-vaxxers, however, insist on making the vaccination mandatory for ethical reasons and to prevent widespread transmission risk of this deadly disease.
WHO To Have ‘E-Vaccination Certificates’
The World Health Organization (WHO) is looking into the possibility of issuing ‘electronic vaccine certificates’ to travellers flying to international places.
As per Dr. Siddharta Sankar Datta, a regional expert on diseases and immunisation, these e-vaccine certificates can be used to resume international travels.
Datta insisted that using such technology should not overwhelm countries, must adhere to laws and should be applicable across international borders flawlessly. For example, some national COVID-19 tracing apps do not work abroad.
Another problem is, it’s still not known how long the immunity from the virus lasts after the vaccine is administered.
As per reports, Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of International Air Transport Association (IATA), while speaking at the annual general meeting in Geneva, has asked governments to re-visit and relax quarantine regulations and cross-border prohibitions in favour of testing but also hinted at his cautions regarding the mandatory vaccination plans for international travellers.
Can India Mandate E-Vaccine Certificates For Travel?
Even though India is one of the top vaccines producing country in the world, we still stand at the bottom of the immunization list.
As per a study by NCBI, many Indian children are deliberately not being immunized. Even the adult vaccination rate and awareness in India is quite low.
Such poor awareness could increase the risk of pandemic even worse.
Currently, the domestic airlines in India have put many safety measures like a rigorous cleaning process before and after every commercial flight.
Many airlines have installed the planes with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. Most of the airports and some railway stations have also installed UV machines to sanitise the luggage.
As per rules by the Maharashtra government, the travellers flying to Mumbai from Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan or Goa, have to carry their latest COVID-19 negative reports.
The Karnataka government has also made compulsory 2 week home quarantine (with some exceptions), for people travelling from outside India if they don’t have their COVID-19 negative report conducted not more than 72 hours before boarding the flight.
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