S Jaishankar puts forward the issue regarding EU vaccine passport

S Jaishankar, Foreign Minister of India disclosed that he has put forward the issue of European authorization for Covishield vaccine for travel to the EU with Josep Borell Frontelles, high representative for the EU on foreign policy. Earlier, Serum Institute of India’s CEO, Adar Poonawalla wrote a letter to the Foreign Minister S Jaishankar requesting him to intervene in the matter regarding EU vaccine passport.

S Jaishankar tweeted, “Discussed vaccine production and access. Took up ‘Covishield’ authorization for travel to Europe. Will be following up.” after his meeting with Borell on the side-lines of the G-20 foreign minister meeting in Matera.

 

The European Union’s vaccine passport programme has approved only four vaccines that includes Vaxzervia, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen-Johnson & Johnson.  In order to clear the confusions regarding the EU’s Green Pass COVID certificate, the EU stated that individual countries will posses the power to approve WHO-cleared vaccines for travel by foreigners to their countries.

Sources from SII revealed that they have applied for approval to the European Medicine Agency (EMA) for Covishield vaccines through AstraZeneca. Covisheild is similar to the Vaxzevria vaccine which is manufactured in EU. On the other hand, the EMA claimed that it have not received any application for approval of Covishield vaccine by SII. It further stated that they will examine any such request when received in accordance to its procedures.

Some officials asserted that all the companies who are producing the AstraZeneca COVID 19 vaccine will have to seek for approval separately.  They further expressed that the EU has had a testy relationship with the AstraZeneca from the time when the vaccine process commenced.

Regarding the above issue, Adar Poonawalla tweeted, ” I realize that a lot of Indians who have taken Covishield  are facing issues with travel to the EU. I assure everyone I have taken this up at the highest levels and hope to resolve this matter soon, both with the regulators and at a diplomatic level with countries.”

On the grounds of EU Digital COVID Certificate or the green pass, the EU expressed that it was meant to facilitate safe free movement during the pandemic in the EU. Furthermore, it clarified that the green pass will serve as a proof that a person is vaccinated against COVID 19 as well as received a negative teat result or recovered from COVID 19. It stated that the major reason behind this certificate is to enable free movement inside the EU and that it is not a pre-condition to travel.

EU further clarified that the temporary ban on non-essential travel to EU  are currently in place from several non-EU countries along with India.  It also assured that based on development in health situation it will lift the travel restrictions at the external borders gradually.

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