Travel to Europe still a worry as India-made Covishield yet to get European Union ‘Green Pass’


New Delhi: The recipients of the Covishield vaccine may not be eligible for Europe’s new ‘vaccine passport’ programme, which recognises a few COVID-19 vaccines whose recipients will be able to travel in and out of Europe with fewer roadblocks than others. The European Union has come up with the concept of Green Pass, which is an immunity document that is meant to ease travel within and to the bloc. Currently, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved only four COVID-19 vaccines for the programme and Covishield vaccine, developed by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), is not on the list. 

Even though Covishield has the WHO’s approval, the ‘Green Pass’ program only accommodates EMA-approved vaccines. The four COVID-19 vaccines approved by EMA are Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Moderna, Vaxzervria (AstraZeneca-Oxford), Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).

This latest development comes as a shock to the people because while the India-made COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, has not been recognised by the EMA for the programme yet, the Vaxzevria, which is a version of the AstraZeneca shot and is produced and manufactured in the UK or other sites around Europe, has been approved.

Additionally, the development is worrying as the majority of people in India have received Covishield jabs. However, it is still unknown how much of an impact these certificates can have on Indian citizens who wish to travel. 

According to the reports, the certificate is primarily for European Union citizens and people from other countries can also seek the certificate after convincing the authorities in an EU country that they qualify for one.

These EU certificates, on which the authorities have been working for months, will be free and will contain a QR code with advanced security features. Several EU countries, including Spain, Germany, Greece, and Poland, have already begun using the system. The rest are expected to start using it from July 1.

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