A day after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar announced that he had lobbied the European Union to accept COVID-19 vaccines such as Covishield and Covaxin for Indian nationals travelling to Europe, Switzerland, Iceland, and seven European Union countries approved the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute on Thursday. Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Estonia, and Spain have confirmed that Covishield is acceptable for travel entry. Switzerland has also permitted the use of Covishield within the Schengen zone.
According to sources, Estonia has confirmed that it will recognise all vaccines authorised by the Indian government for travel by Indians to Estonia.
Union minister Jaishankar met with Josep Borrell Fontelles, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on Tuesday to discuss vaccine production and access. He also obtained a ‘Covishield’ travel authorization for Europe.
Jaishankar, who is in Italy for the G20 foreign ministers meeting, stated that he will monitor the authorization for made in
India Vaccine against COVID-19. According to diplomatic sources, travellers who have received the Covishield vaccine can now enter Switzerland with a green pass.
According to a German Embassy spokesperson, versions of European Union (EU)-approved vaccines that have received approval in other countries are equivalent to the EU-approved vaccines mentioned above in terms of proof of COVID-19 vaccine protection.
According to sources, India has requested that EU member states individually consider extending exemption to individuals who have taken Covishield or Covaxin and has stated that it will institute a reciprocal policy for the recognition of the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
“We have requested that individual EU member states consider extending a similar exemption to individuals who have received COVID-19 vaccines in India, namely Covishield and Covaxin, and accept the vaccination certificate issued through the CoWIN portal. The authenticity of such vaccination certifications can be verified through the CoWIN portal “According to a source.
The European Union’s 27-member bloc is introducing the EU Digital COVID Certificate framework on July 1 to facilitate safe free movement during a COVID pandemic.
Individuals vaccinated with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be exempt from travel restrictions within the EU under this framework, sources said, adding that individual member states retain the option of accepting vaccines authorised at the national level or by the World Health Organization.
Earlier this week, an EU official stated that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had not received any request for approval of Covishield’s authorization.
The EU official told ANI: “Concerning the possibility of an EMA approval for Covishield, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) stated yesterday that it had not received a request for approval. It will review any such request upon receipt in accordance with its procedures.”
“The EMA does not conduct independent research on new drugs unless requested by the relevant companies,” he explained.
EU Ambassador to India Ugo Astuto has clarified that the Covishield vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University is not banned in the European Union. The EU Ambassador stated that the digital COVID certificate has been phased out in favour of a new system.
Meanwhile, as part of the government’s relaxation of COVID-related restrictions on June 26, the Federal Council of Public Health announced that individuals from countries with a variant of concern, such as India, who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, will be permitted entry without the need for a negative test or quarantine.
This means that individuals who have been vaccinated or recovered do not need to produce a negative test when travelling from countries with a high prevalence of the Delta variant (such as India or the United Kingdom), and are not subject to quarantine upon entry.
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