EU’s New ‘Vaccine Passport’ System Coming into Effect: Why Has Covishield Not Been Included?

Vaccine Passport

Covishield, a Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India is not considered and has been disapproved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for its ‘vaccine passport’ program that allows traveling of people in and out of Europe.

It can turn out to be a major concern for Indian travelers who were hoping to travel to European countries soon because of the absence of Covishield from the list of EMA-approved vaccines as the new vaccine passport program will be coming into effect across the EU from July 1 onwards.

Vaccine Passport

Vaccine Passport:How Does It Work and Why Is It Necessary?

What is the Significance of ‘Green Pass’ That Will Settle Travel Restrictions Across EU?

The EU Digital Covid Certificate is digital proof that tells that a person has either been vaccinated against the coronavirus, or received a negative report of the Covid test, or has successfully recovered from the viral infection. This digital document will be valid across all the EU countries, meaning a direct pass to enter the European countries.

The data that is found on the certificate are name, D.O.B, date of issuance, name of the vaccine, or mentioning of the negative test results or successful recovery from the viral infection. Someone who wishes to travel to European countries has to get in touch with the national authorities as they are in charge of the program and the public can issue their documents form test centers or health authorities or directly from the eHealth portal.

The “green pass” helps in easing travel restrictions for people who are planning to visit EU countries. According to the official website of the EU, the person who holds the certificate should be exempted from free movement restrictions and the Member States should refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on the holders of the certificate.

Is it Necessary to Carry A “Green Pass” for Travel to EU?

No, the “green pass” is only meant to enhance the experience of travel and make it hassle-free for those who are traveling by doing away with restrictions. However, it is not compulsory.

It is clearly stated on the EU website that the certificate will not be a pre-condition to free movement, which is a fundamental right in the EU. However, those who are without certificates will be subjected to the usual travel restrictions and quarantine rules which are common and being followed in every country.

Indians who are traveling to France, have to undergo an RT-PCR test before boarding and are required to be tested again once they land in France. Further, they have to self-isolate for seven days, and those who have not been vaccinated need to undergo mandatory 10-day quarantine supervised by security forces.

List of Vaccines Approved by EMA for the Purpose

Currently, the EMA list includes four vaccines – Vaxzevria (Oxford-AstraZeneca), Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), Spikevax (Moderna), and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).

Covishield, Covaxin, and Sputnik V have not been mentioned in the list by EMA.

Why has Covishield Not Been Included in the List?

According to a BBC report, EMA said the Serum Institute of India has not applied for Covishield’s approval. The EMA demands different manufacturers of the same product to submit separate applications to get approval. This is because the EMA takes into consideration the local manufacturing facilities.

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