National

‘India must first decode impact of EU Green Pass’

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on June 28, 2021

Vaccine-makers must be in touch with EMA to get products validated: Sources

India needs to first ascertain the implication of the ‘EU Green Pass’ on Indian travellers before taking up the matter with the bloc, as many European countries have their own ‘vaccine passport’ mechanism in place, based on vaccines listed by the World Health Organisation, said a source tracking the development.

“Even for travellers vaccinated with one of the four vaccines approved by the European regulator European Medicines Agency (EMA), the standard safety protocol of RTPCR tests and quarantine may continue to apply,” said the source, adding that it may not result in substantial difference on the ground.

The EU is set to implement a Digital Green Pass mechanism, primarily to revive travel in Europe, a proof that a person is immunised, has tested negative for Covid-19 or has received a vaccine. The point of controversy, however, is that only four vaccines have been approved by the EMA for the Green Pass, and the list excludes both Covishield, a version of AstraZeneca Covid vaccine manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

Vaccines approved

The four vaccines that have been approved by the EMA for the EU Green Pass include Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Moderna, Vaxzervria (AstraZeneca), Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).

“While the European Council has confirmed that the EU countries must accept vaccination certificates for the four approved vaccines issued in other member states, it has also allowed flexibility. Member states can decide whether they will also accept vaccination certificates that have been authorised by other member states following national authorisation procedures or vaccines listed by the WHO for emergency use,” the source pointed out.

Awaiting nod for Covaxin

This would mean that travellers, who have been vaccinated with Covishield, may not face issues travelling to the EU as the vaccine is approved by the WHO. Efforts are also on to get WHO approval for Covaxin.

“It is not the government but the Indian vaccine manufacturers who need to immediately get in touch with the EMA to see how they can get their vaccines registered with the regulator.

“There should not be any need of going through diplomatic channels,” said the source, reacting to a tweet by Adar Poonawalla, CEO, SII.

Poonawalla, on Monday, said that he was taking up the concerns of Indians, who had taken the Covishield, but were facing issues related to their travel to the EU and hoped to resolve this matter soon, both with regulators and at a diplomatic level with countries.

“The fact to be considered here is that there are several European countries that are following their own authorisation procedures based on vaccines approved by the WHO. This is likely to continue,” said the official.

Single-member states can then decide whether they will also accept vaccination certificates that have been authorised by other member states following national authorisation procedures which recognises vaccines listed by the WHO for emergency use.

Published on June 28, 2021

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