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Those who received Indian vaccine may not eligible for EU ‘Green Pass’; European expats are concerned

DUBLIN: People who received Indian-made COVID-19 vaccines may not be eligible for the EU Digital COVID Passport, which allows them to travel freely across Europe. Only those who have been vaccinated with vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are currently eligible for a ‘green passport.’ This will be a huge setback for Indians waiting to travel to European countries.

The Covishield vaccine, manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), is not included in the European Union COVID Passport. This means that those who have been vaccinated with Covishield may be ineligible for the EU ‘Green Pass.’ Many people, especially healthcare workers, hoped that the introduction of the ‘COVID passport’ would make travel possible, but that dream may be dashed if the EU sticks to its decision.

The ‘vaccine passport’ recognises the Vaxzevria version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is manufactured in the UK and Europe and has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The Covishield vaccine was developed by SII under the license of AstraZeneca vaccine developed by Oxford University. Covishield has not yet been approved by the EMA, which is why it is not included in the Green Passport.

Currently EMA approved COVID-19 vaccines include Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Vaxzevria, and Johnson & Johnson. EU member states are free to accept other vaccines as well, but must be EMA approved. The Serum Institute has written to the EMA regarding this but it has not yet been considered.

People who have taken the Covishield vaccine are currently permitted to travel to countries including Ireland. If the green card is accepted by member countries in full compliance with EU rules, it will be disappointing for Indians traveling to Ireland.

Vaccine passports will be issued in many European countries from July 1, and in some countries, including Ireland, starting July 19. Those who are fully vaccinated can travel freely across Europe without any COVID-19 restrictions.

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