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8 European nations accept Covishield in their Green Pass after India’s warning to quarantine their citizens. Details

The Indian government had said it will only recognise the EU digital Covid certificates on a reciprocal basis, that is, if the EU nations do not include Indian vaccines in Green Pass, India will put EU travellers on a mandatory quarantine.

Seven EU nations and Switzerland have accepted India’s Covishield in their ‘Green Pass’, that is, persons vaccinated with Covishield will be allowed to travel in those nations.

The development has come after India had told EU nations that it would allow EU travellers in India without mandatory quarantine only on the basis of reciprocity. India had conveyed to the EU that they need to include India-made Covishield and Covaxin in their ‘Green Pass’ that comes into effect from July.

Earlier, India had cautioned against the European Union’s reluctance in accepting Indian-made vaccines for its ‘vaccination passport’. The Indian government had categorically stated that it will not recognise the EU’s digital Covid certificate until it recognises Indian vaccines Covishield and Covaxin in the certificate, reports Hindustan Times.

In what seemed to be the first diplomatic retaliatory move against vaccine nationalism, the Indian government had said it will only recognise the EU digital Covid certificates on a reciprocal basis.

The reciprocal approval means that EU’s vaccine certificates will not be accepted in the country, and people from the EU will have to face mandatory quarantine upon arrival in India unless the European Union accepts Covishield and Covaxin certificates in its digital certificate, also known as “Green Pass”.

“We have requested the EU Member States to individually consider extending the similar exemption to those persons who have taken Covid-19 vaccines in India, that is, Covishield and Covaxin, and accept the vaccination certificate issued through the CoWIN portal,” a senior MEA confirmed to the Hindu.

The EU digital Covid certificate or “Green Pass” will exempt those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the EU from mandatory quarantine. The EU “Green Pass” is expected to come into effect from July 1.

Meanwhile, the EU has claimed that SII had not applied for the permissions with the European Medicines Agency, and had promised to consider its case as soon as it applied. However, New Delhi contended that the EMA must consider the Indian-made vaccines by accepting the CoWin certificate, regardless of the applications.

On Tuesday, Serum Institute applied for EU’s authorisation for the use of Covishield through its European partner, AstraZeneca. However, European Medicines Agency said they have not received a request for the approval of Covishield.

Dr Jaishankar takes up issue of ‘vaccine passport’ with EU’s top officials

On Tuesday, during his meeting with top EU officials, Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar took up the issue of the inclusion of Covishield in the vaccination passport initiative of the European Union. “Discussed vaccine production and access. Took up ‘Covishield’ authorisation for travel to Europe. Will be following up,” Dr Jaishankar tweeted.

The European Union’s ‘vaccine passport’ programme has approved only four vaccines, Vaxzevria (Oxford-AstraZeneca), Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), Spikevax (Moderna) and Janssen-Johnson & Johnson. Interestingly, Covishield, which is exactly the same as AstraZeneca’s – Vaxzevria, has failed to make the cut. Covaxin has not been considered, largely because it is yet to get WHO approval.

Meanwhile, the EU also clarified on Tuesday that the “Green pass” is not a mandatory condition to travel to Europe as individual member states are free to accept vaccines approved by WHO such as Covishield.

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