The European Union has formulated a new Vaccine Passport, enabling international travelers Who are vaccinated with certain Covid-19 Vaccines to travel throughout Europe. Interestingly the plan omits those vaccinated with the Covishield vaccine but permits Astrazeneca’s EU made vaccine Vaxzevria.
It is worth noting that Covishield, produced by the Pune based Serum Institutes of India is the derivative of AstraZeneca’s shot, called Vaxzevria which is produced in Europe. Vaxzevria and Covishield are qualitatively similar.
As of now, only 4 vaccines have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the “Vaccine Passport” programme formally known as “Green Pass”. These are Vaxzevria (Oxford-AstraZeneca), Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), Spikevax (Moderna) and Janssen-Johnson & Johnson.
The Africa CDC (Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) has also expressed its over the VAccine Passport programme of EU as AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine produced in India by the Serum Institute has also been distributed to African countries (among others) as part of the WHO’s COVAX programme.
“… guidelines put at risk the equitable treatment of persons having received vaccines in countries profiting from the EU-supported COVAX Facility, including the majority of the African Union (AU) Member States,” the Africa CDC said.
“Under such regulations, persons who received Covishield, despite being able to demonstrate proof of vaccination, would continue to be subject to restrictions, including limitations of movement and testing requirements, with considerable administrative and financial implications,” it added.
Serum Institute of India (SII) has now applied for an emergency use authorization for its covid-19 vaccine with the European Medicines Agency, following reports that those who were administered Covishield were not being allowed to enter the European Union.
Adar Poonawalla the CEO of SII in a Tweet said, “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”.
Nearly 310 million people have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the SII’s India made Covishield and millions other throughout the world with the help of the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme to vaccine those in the under-developed countries.