This, even as India has already asked EU member countries to individually consider allowing Indians who have taken Covishield and Covaxin vaccines and want to travel to Europe.
Covishield has not yet been approved by France, Italy, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia. 14 of these are EU members while Norway and Lichtenstein are non-member states.
On the other hand, 13 EU members have said they will allow people inoculated with Covishield to travel to their countries.
These are Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
Switzerland and Iceland, which are not part of the bloc, have also accepted Covishield as Schengen state.
The EU green pass is in use in 31 European countries (27 members of EU bloc and 4 non-members).
Earlier, India had conveyed to the EU member states that it will adopt a policy of reciprocity and exempt European nationals holding the ‘Green Pass’ from mandatory quarantine in the country provided its request to recognise Covishield and Covaxin vaccines is heeded to.
India has been urging EU members to recognise both Covishield and Covaxin for travel amid concerns that citizens inoculated with either of these vaccines won’t be able to travel to several European nation amid pandemic restrictions.
“Our expectation is that Indians who have been vaccinated through our domestic vaccination programme would be treated at par with those vaccinated in the EU and the CoWIN vaccination certificate would be recognized by the EU on a reciprocal basis,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said earlier this month.
EU green pass
The European Union’s Digital Covid certificate or “Green Pass” came into effect on July 1 with an aim to facilitate hassle-free movement of travelers amid virus restrictions.
Under this framework, people who have taken vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be exempted from travel restrictions within the EU region.
The ‘Green Pass’ will be mandatory to travel to European countries and the document will serve as proof that a person is vaccinated against Covid-19.
The individual member states have the flexibility to also accept vaccines that have been authorised at the national level or those recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The four EMA-approved vaccines included in the green pass are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
WHO nod to Covaxin soon?
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) is likely to take a decision on including Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in the emergency use list (EUL) within four to six weeks, Soumya Swaminathan, the global health body’s chief scientist has said.
Swaminathan said the WHO is reviewing Covaxin as its manufacturer Bharat Biotech is now uploading its entire data on the health body’s portal.
According to WHO guidelines, EUL is a procedure to streamline the process by which new or unlicensed products can be used during public health emergencies.
Currently, the WHO has approved vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio/Serum Institute of India, AstraZeneca EU, Janssen, Moderna and Sinopharm for emergency use.
(With inputs from PTI)