The European Medicine Agency has not received a request for the approval of Covishield in the COVID-19 ‘vaccination passport’ with the European Union, the EU said today amid concerns among Covishield-vaccinated Indians facing issues with travel to Europe. The European Union has not yet recognised the India-made version of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine.
It said temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU are in place from many countries, including India, due to the pandemic.
“Concerning a possible EMA authorisation for Covishield, as of yesterday, the European Medicine Agency (EMA) stated that it had not received a request for approval. It will examine any such request when received, as per its procedures,” the EU said in a statement.
Serum Institute of India, that manufactures Covishield, had requested the government to take up the issue of the vaccine’s inclusion in the EU ‘vaccination passport’, sources said.
“India has a large population. However, not including Covishield into the EU COVID-19 Vaccination Passport will not allow Covishield vaccinated people to travel to European countries and this will affect students, business travellers back and forth, and cause severe disruptions to our economy and to the global economy,” news agency PTI, attributing to sources, quoted Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla as having written to Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar.
On Monday, Mr Poonawalla tweeted that he had “taken this up at the highest levels… with regulators and diplomatic” and that he hoped the matter would be resolved soon.
So far, only those vaccinated by either of the four vaccines – Comirnaty of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Vaxzervria by AstraZeneca-Oxford and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen – will be given vaccination passports and will be allowed restriction-free travel within the EU during the pandemic.
EU member countries, however, have the option to individually accept vaccinations that have been authorised by the World Health Organization (WHO), such as Covishield, thus allowing restriction-free travel in that country.
Pointing out that the “EU Digital Covid Certificate”, that will be in place from July 1, is not a pre-condition to travel, the EU said it is meant to facilitate safe free movement during the pandemic within the EU.
“It will serve as proof that a person was vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19,” the EU said.