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Covishield gets nod from nine European countries for travel

EU begins ‘Green Pass’ for those with authorised jabs to travel among 27 nations

July 01, 2021 06:56 pm | Updated November 22, 2021 10:11 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A picture taken on June 16, 2021 in Brussels shows a mobile phone whose screen reads "EU Digital Covid certificate".

A picture taken on June 16, 2021 in Brussels shows a mobile phone whose screen reads "EU Digital Covid certificate".

At least nine countries in Europe have given recognition to the Covishield vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India, informed sources have said. The confirmation came on Thursday when the European Union started the "Green Pass" facility which will allow travellers vaccinated with an authorised set of vaccines to travel within the EU zone covering 27 countries. The recognition by the nine countries is a "national" move by the states and not by the European Union headquartered in Brussels.

The list of EU Member States that have recognised Covishield as a valid vaccine includes Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Spain. That apart, Estonia has confirmd that it will recognise all the vaccines authorised by Government of India for travel of Indians to Estonia, said an informed source.

 

Switzerland, not a EU member, too allows Covishield as Schengen state.

Supporting the move by Germany, ambassador Walter J. Lindner said, "Confirming that a double shot of Covishield is fully recognised by Germany as valid proof of anti-COVID vaccination." Germany however has a travel ban in place for Indians as India has been recognised as a "virus variant country".

"This (confirmation) does nevertheless not modify existing travel or visa restrictions for travellers from areas of concern/ virus variant areas," said Mr. Lindner clarifying the German position on travel from India.

 

The clearance by the nine European countries came on a day when the "Green Pass" was introduced by the EU which is meant for travel within 27 Member States of the European Union. The clearance by the nine countries however is unlikely to translate into an automatic clearance of Covishield as an equivalent to the "Green Pass" which recognises Pfizer/BioNTech’s Comirnaty, Moderna’s Spikevax, Oxford-AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) that created the authorised list is yet to include Covishield, which is based on AstraZeneca formula, as an acceptable vaccine.

The clearance of Covishield by nine European countries showed that some EU Member States are making individual policies that are suitable to their health and international requirements. For example, Air France, in its website, said as per French government's quarantine protocols Indian passengers who have taken doses cleared by EMA (Pfizer-BioNTech's Comirnaty, Moderna's Spikevax, Vaxzevria of Oxford-AstraZeneca and Janssen by Johnson & Johnson) are required to undergo 7 days of "mandatory quarantine".

"These passengers must present a Covid-19 vaccination certificate demonstrating that at least 4 weeks have elapsed since the first dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or 2 weeks have elapsed sincec the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccine, or since the first dose of these vaccines if the passenger holds proof that they previously have been infected with COVID-19," said Air Frace laying down the domestic requirement which places additional conditions on even those Indian passengers who have taken doses of the vaccines meant for the "Green Pass" from the EU.

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