Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said India was against the implementation of “vaccine passports” for travel to foreign countries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Vardhan was speaking at a health ministers’ meeting of the G7 countries, where India was invited as a guest.

The Indian health minister said that imposing a “vaccine passport” would be “highly discriminatory and disadvantageous” as the percentage of population being vaccinated was lower in developing countries when compared to developed ones. He also flagged “still-unaddressed issues” of equitable and affordable access to vaccines.

“India would suggest that the same [vaccine passport] should be implemented duly taking into consideration emerging evidence of the efficacy of vaccines and under the over-arching coordination by WHO duly attending to the anomaly of access and affordability [of vaccines] as it exists today,” Vardhan said.

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A “vaccine passport” is a proof of vaccination against certain diseases that passengers are required to produce when they enter another country. Travellers from many African countries to the United States or India are required to submit proof that they have been vaccinated against diseases such as yellow fever, according to The Indian Express.

So far, countries have not made “vaccine passports” mandatory for Covid-19, but several European countries and airlines in the United States are encouraging travellers to upload their vaccination certificates on their online platforms, according to CNBC.

On May 14, top US virologist Anthony Fauci had said in an interview that it will be up to individual airlines in the country and not the government on whether they make vaccine certificates mandatory.

In February, the World Health Organisation had said vaccination certificates should not be made mandatory owing to “critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission” and limited availability of vaccines. The health body has not issued an update on the advisory since then.