- EU nations accept only vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency
- Those vaccinated with Covishield may not be allowed to travel to EU
- India might start a reciprocal policy over exemption from quarantine
The European Union's reluctance in accepting Indian-made vaccines for its 'vaccination passport' has triggered a face-off with New Delhi. Sources in the foreign ministry said India will begin a reciprocal policy when it comes to exemption from quarantine. This would mean that unless the European Union accepts Covishield and Covaxin certificates, their certificates will not be accepted in the country and people from EU will face mandatory quarantine upon arrival in India.
European Union has been told that Covishield and Covaxin must be notified in its digital Covid certificate, sources said.
Under the new "Green Pass" scheme, people vaccinated with Covishield are unlikely to be allowed to travel to the member states of European Union.
The EU countries accept only the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, which are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen. But Covishield, which is the Indian version of AstraZeneca, is yet to get their clearance.
Asked about the discrepancy by news agency ANI, Ugo Astuto, the European Union ambassador to India, said, Every approval process of vaccine must be conducted on its own merit".
On Tuesday, Serum Institute sources said has applied for EU's nod for Covishield through its European partner, AstraZeneca. But European Medicines Agency said they have not received a request for the approval of Covishield.
On Tuesday, foreign minister S Jaishankar took up the issue of inclusion of Covishield in the Vaccination Passport with a top EU official. "Discussed vaccine production and access. Took up 'Covishield' authorisation for travel to Europe. Will be following up," Mr Jaishankar tweeted.
So far, only those vaccinated with either of the four vaccines -- Comirnaty of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Vaxzervria by AstraZeneca-Oxford and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen – do not face travel restrictions.
Without the approval of the EMA, nations importing Covishield will face legal issues. Indigenously made Covaxin is awaiting approval from the WHO for emergency use authorization.