India's Covaxin will be added to the list of approved COVID-19 vaccines in the United Kingdom. According to a statement by the UK government, Covaxin will be approved for international travellers from November 22, which would mean that those inoculated with the Bharat Biotech-manufactured jab will not have to self-isolate after arrival in England.
The move follows the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Emergency Use Listing for Covaxin, which is the second most used formulation in India.
Covishield, the India-manufactured Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, was added to the UK's approved list last month.
"More good news for Indian travellers to the UK. From 22 November travellers fully vaccinated with a COVID19 vaccine recognised by WHO for Emergency Use Listing, including Covaxin, will not have to self-isolate; so joining those fully vaccinated with Covishield," Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India, said on Twitter on Monday.
The changes will come into effect at 4 am on November 22.
Besides Covaxin, China's Sinovac and Sinopharm, both on the WHO Emergency Use Listing, will be recognised by the UK government as approved vaccines for inbound travel, benefitting fully vaccinated people from the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.
Fully vaccinated passengers will not be required to take a pre-departure test, day-8 test or self-isolate upon arrival.
"As we continue to recover from the pandemic and expand our recognition of international vaccines, today's announcements mark the next step in our restart of international travel," said UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
"The red list and quarantine system remain vital in protecting our borders and as we've said, we will not hesitate to take action by adding countries to the red list if necessary," UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.
The UK government has also simplified the travel rules for all under-18s coming to England. They will now be treated as fully vaccinated at the border and will be exempt from self-isolation requirements on arrival, day-8 testing and pre-departure testing.
They will only be required to take one post-arrival test and a confirmatory free PCR test if they test positive.
(With inputs from PTI)