Let us try to understand the underlying insecurity of Western nations when it comes to granting recognition to Indian vaccines, and Indians vaccinated with domestic Covid-19 vaccines. The issue, of course, has racist overtones – but the bigger issue, as admitted by the United Kingdom itself, is the technological advancement which India is making at an unprecedented pace. The UK has made it clear that it has issues with India’s Covid-19 vaccine certificates, and the portal through which they are generated, CoWin. The Western world and the United Kingdom, in particular, cannot seem to fathom how India has established a centralised national system of vaccination documentation – that too, digitally.
The United Kingdom’s Candid Admission
Speaking to NDTV, British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis said, “While Covishield is approved, the UK government is still trying to understand how the Indian Covid vaccine app works. And let me assure you, that this is a two-way process. We are also letting India know how the UK government Covid app works. Once we understand this better and know that it is absolutely safe, we can go ahead and remove the quarantine for Indian travellers.”
Therefore, the UK has admitted to not being able to wrap its heads around India’s Covid-19 vaccine documentation system. India is considered an underdeveloped and overpopulated third world country by the West. For the United Kingdom, the pain is even more palpable, since they were the colonial rulers of India only 75 years ago. How can India make such technological advancements, which put the systems of ‘Western democracies’ to shame?
What Britain accepts vs What it's casting doubts on
Only one has a QR code making the certificate verifiable on the CoWin website. Others have Western supremacy. I say, stop recognising these certificates because they are so easy to fake. pic.twitter.com/DdKCACBucW
— Shubhangi Sharma (@ItsShubhangi) September 22, 2021
How Does India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Certification Work?
- As stated earlier, India has a completely digitised national system of vaccination documentation, which is centralised via the CoWin portal.
- The CoWIN platform is helping India avoid chaotic scenes at vaccination centres, unlike in other countries, where people are having to reach the vaccination centres, get exposed to large crowds, be pushed and shoved around and finally end up being told that the jabs at the given centre have been exhausted.
- Upon vaccination, a certificate is generated via the CoWin portal.
- This certificate will either be provisional, in case only the first dose has been administered, or it will be ‘final’ when both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered.
- This certificate can be verified from anywhere in the world. For verification of the certificate, one must visit the CoWin portal (www.cowin.gov.in). On the home page itself, a ‘Verify Certificate’ option is seen next to the ‘Book Your Slot’ option.
- Upon clicking the ‘Verify Certificate’ option, a QR code scanner pops up, which is when one is required to scan the QR code displayed on his/her certificate. If the certificate is legitimate, the CoWin portal will immediately display that the certificate is verified.
The Technically Challenged Western World
For the United Kingdom, however, the CoWin portal is simply too complex, even though a tween would be able to operate it successfully. The underlying issue is that of technological impairment. For a country that does not issue QR codes on vaccine certificates, the mere thought of every Indian having a unique Covid-19 vaccine QR code is mind-boggling. So, the first instinct of the Brits is to conclude that India is running a great grand vaccination scam!
The UK, much like every other Western nation, is still relying on analogue vaccine certificates. Their certificates are bereft of any scope of instant verification, if they are not entirely handwritten, that is. In the United States of America, meanwhile, vaccine certificates are handwritten. However, for a country where physical signatures form the foundation of the voting process, nothing better could have been expected.
How Dare India Take Such Great Technological Strides?
The general sentiment in Western capitals seems to be that if they – the first world countries, protectors of democracy, preachers of tolerance and multiculturalism and the leaders in the technological arena cannot issue digital vaccine certificates, how can India do so? We have a simple answer to them. You, dear Western nations, are technologically challenged, and the India of 2021 refuses to follow your lead on any subject that there is.
I have grown up listening to stories about the beautiful roads, the civic sense, pretty cars, jobs, opportunities and technological prowess of the west. It’s amusing to see them struggling to fathom India’s technological advancement for a change. And it won’t be the last.
— Atul Mishra (@TheAtulMishra) September 22, 2021
India’s vaccination programme is drawing laurels from countries that genuinely want to rid themselves of Covid-19. And such countries realise that the CoWin system can be a formidable tool for them. So, while the first world countries sulk in their corners upon witnessed India’s tremendous success, at least 50 countries from across Central Asia, Latin America and Africa have expressed their interest in gaining technological insight from India, specifically with the CoWin portal.
India had decided in June itself to share the open-source of CoWIN with 50 countries showing interest in the platform as India’s tremendous pace of vaccination gets the world gasping with adulation. National Health Authority CEO RS Sharma had stated that the government will create an open-source version of CoWIN to let other countries use it free of cost.
Fake Vaccine Certificates Across the West
Without QR codes and the technology to instantly verify Covid-19 vaccine certificates, the technologically impaired western world is struggling to keep a check on the fake certificate industry which has come to flourish in their jurisdictions. Anybody can fake handwritten vaccine certificates, and without a CoWin-like portal to verify such documents, there is very little that countries like the UK and USA can do to prevent people from faking their vaccination data.
A fake vaccine certificate in the U.S., where Moderna is misspelt as ‘Maderna’
It would naive to assume that fake certificate is a local regional issue. pic.twitter.com/HDTf5ZSuXA
— Avatans Kumar (@avatans) September 22, 2021
India’s giant technological stride has become a bitter pill for the Western world to swallow. The Covid-19 pandemic has unleashed India’s prowess as a country that is destined to lead the world. Countries like the UK and the U.S. realise that time is slipping away like sand from their hands, and that India is fast emerging as a nation that can challenge its hegemony across fields, all under its excellence.