'Green Pass': 10 European Countries Approve Covishield for Travel
Several countries have allowed Covishield-vaccinated travellers despite it not being approved for EU's 'Green Pass'.
Amid row over the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) not granting a 'Green Pass' to travellers from India who have been fully vaccinated with Covishield, Netherlands has now allowed people inoculated with the vaccine to visit the country, news agency ANI reported on Friday, 2 July.
This takes the total number of European nations recognising the vaccine to 10. Earlier, nine European countries – Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland and Spain – had reportedly confirmed accepting travellers administered with Covishield, according to reports.
"Versions of EU-approved vaccines permitted abroad are equivalent to the mentioned EU-approved vaccines for proof of vaccination protection," a German Embassy spokesperson told ANI.
"As of 21 June 2021, vaccination certificates issued by the Government of India are recognised by Estonia as proof of vaccination against COVID-19. At the moment, persons fully vaccinated and holding required travel documents can enter Estonia," the Embassy of Estonia in Delhi stated on Thursday, reported ANI.
Row Over Europe's Travel Policy
The immunity passport or ‘Green Pass’, available from 1 July as a part of the new ‘vaccine passport’ programme in Europe 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. It enables one to travel within the Union with fewer restrictions.
The proof of vaccination is extended to only the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
While it includes the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, it does not include the version manufactured in India – Covishield.
While the European Commission said that vaccination is not a precondition for travel, one will be required to undergo the required quarantine/isolation guidelines in that country.
Several EU Nations Granting Approval After India's Request
On Wednesday, 30 June, India had asked several individual member states of the European Union to grant exemption to people who have been administered Covishield and Covaxin for travel to Europe, ANI reported quoting sources.
The countries were reportedly requested to accept vaccination certificates issued by CoWIN under the 'Green Pass' regime.
India also said that it will institute a 'reciprocal policy' wherein citizens from EU member states will be granted exemption from mandatory quarantine, once Covaxin and Covishield are included in the EU Digital Certificate.
Earlier on Wednesday, Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla expressed confidence that the EMA will approve their COVID-19 vaccine within a month.
"The EMA is absolutely correct in asking us to apply, which we did through our partner AstraZeneca a month ago. That process has to take its time. An approval process, even with UK MHRA and WHO, took time," PTI quoted Poonawalla as saying at the India Global Forum, 2021.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI.)
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