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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 02 July, 2021

  • 12 Min Read

9 European countries gave recognition to Covishield for Green pass

9 European countries gave recognition to Covishield for the Green pass

  • Nine European countries have given recognition to the Covishield vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
  • European Union (EU) started the “Green Pass” facility, which will allow people vaccinated with an authorised set of vaccines to travel within its zone, covering 27 countries.
  • The nine countries’ move is a “national” move by them and not by the EU, headquartered in Brussels.
  • The EU member-states that have recognised Covishield include Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland and Spain.
  • Estonia has confirmed that it would recognise all the vaccines authorised by the Government of India for the travel of Indians.
  • As a Schengen state, Switzerland, though not an EU member, allows Covishield.
  • Germany, however, has a travel ban in place for Indians as India has been recognised as a “virus variant country.”

Issue of Green Pass with European Union

  • India took issue with the European Union’s plans to institute a “green pass” from July 1, with government sources warning that India will introduce a “reciprocal policy” only allowing ease of travel for those European countries that recognise Indian vaccines Covishield and Covaxin.
  • The African Union had also issued a letter of protest over the EU proposal saying that it promoted “inequality” for those from India and “lower-income” countries for whom the Covishield vaccine was the “backbone” of the international COVAX alliance programme.
  • Those vaccinated with Covishield, the version of the AstraZeneca vaccine being manufactured in India by SII, are not eligible for the EU Digital Covid certificate or “green pass”.
  • It is an immunity document to ease travel within and to the 27-member bloc. It will be in place by July 1.
  • Comirnaty of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca’s Vaxzervria and Janssen by Johnson & Johnson are the only four Covid-19 vaccines approved by EMA, which have received EU-wide marketing authorisation.
  • Covishield is also a version of AstraZeneca Covid vaccine and is being manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India.

What is the EU Digital Covid Certificate?

  • An EU Digital Covid Certificate is digital proof that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result or recovered from Covid-19.
  • The certificate is both in digital and paper format, comes with a QR code is free of charge, is in the national language and English, is safe and secure and valid in all EU countries.

How can one get the certificate?

  • National authorities are in charge of issuing the certificate, for example, it could be issued by test centres or health authorities or directly via an eHealth portal.
  • The digital version can be stored on a mobile device and at the same people can also request a paper version.
  • Both versions will have a QR code with essential information and a digital signature to make sure the certificate is authentic.
  • The EU Digital Covid Certificate holder should in principle be exempted from free movement restrictions when travelling and member states should refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on them.

Can unvaccinated people travel to another EU country?

  • Yes. The EU Digital Covid Certificate should facilitate free movement inside the EU. It will not be a pre-condition to free movement, which is a fundamental right in the EU.
  • The EU Digital Covid Certificate will also prove the results of testing, which is often required under applicable public health restrictions. The certificate is an opportunity for member states to adjust the existing restrictions on public health grounds.
  • The currently applicable recommendation on coordinating free movement restrictions in the EU will also be amended by mid-June with a view to the holiday season.

Source: TH


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