India calls on EU to include Covishield, Covaxin in ‘green pass’
The Indian government has called on European nations to accept SII’s Covaxin and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccine in the exemption ‘green’ list for their vaccine passport.
As per reports, the Modi government is working on a reciprocal policy to address the EU’s hesitation in accepting the two India-made vaccines in order to facilitate ease of movement between India and EU nations.
The European Union’s Digital Covid certificate framework comes into effect from July 1 to allow free movement for passengers during the pandemic and boost tourism. As part of the framework, only those passengers inoculated with vaccines authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be exempted from travel restrictions within EU nations.
Taking note of the situation, the Centre has urged the 27-member bloc to accept the two India-made vaccines for its digital green certificate. India has urged the EU to accept the vaccination certificates issued via CoWIN portal as part of the country’s national vaccination drive launched in January 2021.
“We have requested EU member states to individually consider extending similar exemption to those persons who have taken Covid-19 vaccines in India, that is Covishield and Covaxin,” a government source told news agency PTI.
As of now, the EU is allowing only four vaccines approved by the EMA, including Spikevax (previously Moderna), Vaxzevria (previously AstraZeneca), Comirnaty, and Janssen. While the Serum Institute applied for EU’s nod for the Covishield vaccine through AstraZeneca, the Pune-based pharma company is yet to receive clearance from the bloc.
“I realise that a lot of Indians who have taken COVISHIELD are facing issues with travel to the E.U., I assure everyone, I have taken this up at the highest levels and hope to resolve this matter soon, both with regulators and at a diplomatic level with countries,” SII CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted earlier.
As part of its reciprocal policy, India has offered to allow EU nationals with EU’s Digital Covid certificates and waive off mandatory quarantine requirements upon their arrival in the country. However, India has noted thatthe policy will be valid for only those EU nations which will recognise Covaxinand Covishield in their digital Covid certificate.
On Tuesday, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said that he has discussed the inclusion of the Covishield vaccine in the vaccine passport with his EU counterpart High Representative Josep Borrell Fontanelles.
“Discussed vaccine production and access. Took up ‘Covishield’ authorization for travel to Europe. Will be following up,” the EAM minister tweeted.
Notably, Covishield received approval for emergency use by the World Health Organisation in February. However, Covaxin is yet to receive a WHO nod for emergency use listing.