Under Europe’s new ‘vaccine passport’ scheme, travellers vaccinated with Covishield may not be eligible for hurdle-free travelling as allowed by the ‘Green Pass’, because the programme recognises AstraZeneca, and not the derivation manufactured in India, The Wire Science reported.
The immunity passport or ‘Green Pass’, available from 1 July, will serve as proof that the individual has been vaccinated against COVID-19, or has recently tested negative against it, or has natural immunity build up from an earlier version.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has so far cleared four vaccines – Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Moderna, Vaxzervria (AstraZeneca manufactured in the UK and EU countries), and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
Covishield, which is manufactured at Pune-based Serum Institute of India, is derived from the AstraZeneca shot and has been excluded from the list. Bharat Biotech’s vaccine Covaxin has also been not listed in the approved list.
What is the Purpose of EU’s COVID-19 Passport?
The EU Green Pass, a digital certificate, was introduced by the European Union in a bid to restore freedom of travel for the public and is encouraging members to remove the barriers to entry placed due to COVID-19.
From 1 July onwards, those who hold the Green Pass will not need to quarantine or test for COVID when entering a EU country. However, individual countries may impose restrictions depending on their currently infection rate/case load.
There are three types of EU’s COVID-19 passport/Green Pass launched:
According to schengenvisainfo.com, individuals who have recently been infected with COVID-19 and have recovered from it should also be permitted to travel with an EU COVID travel certificate.
‘Hope to Resolve Soon’: Adar Poonawalla
Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla on Monday, 28 June, tweeted that he has taken up the issue of Covishield being excluded from the list “at the highest levels and hopes to resolve this matter soon".
Covishield Vs Vaxzevria
Vaxzevria, as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is known as outside India, is produced by India-based Serum Institute, South Korea-based SK Biosciences, as well as AstraZeneca at four sites, The Wire Science reported.
The World Health Organization has given its nod to AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria and its corresponding versions, including Covishield.
SII in November 2020 had started a clinical trial with 1,600 participants for Covishield, wherein the vaccine’s immunogenicity levels had been compared with that of Vaxzevria, according to the report. While the results of this trial are not out yet, available data suggests that both the shots have comparable levels of antibodies.
Countries Accepting/Issuing Green Pass
|EU Country||Will be Issuing EU Green Pass||Effectively Issuising EU Green Pass|
Other than the above EU countries, non-EU countries like Iceland and Norway are also accepting and issuing Green Pass certificates.
(With inputs from The Wire Science.)