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EU restrictions on Covishield administered Indians: Serum Chief hopes to resolve the issue soon

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 28, 2021

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India

Earlier, EU’s ‘Green Pass’ program had excluded SII manufactured Covishield effective July 1.

Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla on Monday assured individuals vaccinated against Covid-19 with Covishield regarding issues with travel to the European Union.

The SII chief assured Indians vaccinated with Covishield that the matter related to these restrictions had been taken up with the highest authorities.

“I realise that a lot of Indians who have taken COVISHIELD are facing issues with travel to the E.U., I assure everyone, I have taken this up at the highest levels and hope to resolve this matter soon, both with regulators and at a diplomatic level with countries,” the SII Chief said in a tweet.

Poonawalla’s tweet comes along the heels of SII manufactured Covishield being excluded from EU’s ‘Green Pass’ program that will effect from July 1, as per reports.

Multiple member states in the EU have begun to issue digital “vaccine passport” that will enable individuals to move freely for work or tourism with fewer roadblocks. The document will serve as proof a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, or has recently tested negative for the virus, or has the natural immunity owing to prior infection.

According to a Hindustan Times report, as per the technical specification of the ‘Green Pass’ program, it is limited to only those “vaccines that have received EU-wide marketing authorisation.”

This includes four vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) that can be used in the EU member states: Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Moderna, Vaxzervria (AstraZeneca), Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).

SII manufactured Covishield, a version of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, has been excluded from the list.

The vaccine has been administered largely to Indians and citizens of low- and middle-income countries who were immunised under the WHO co-sponsored COVAX initiative.

EU member states have the option to accept other vaccine certificates for travellers who have received Covid-19 vaccines not approved by the EMA.

Iceland, for instance, will allow restriction-free entry to individuals vaccinated with vaccines authorised by the EMA or the WHO.

WHO has listed eight vaccines under its Emergency Use List, which includes Covishield.

On the other hand, France will approve only those vaccines authorised by EMA and not others, such as Russian and Indian vaccines, it has clarified, as per reports.

Published on June 28, 2021

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