A day after India threatened to put European visitors under mandatory quarantine, Switzerland, Iceland and seven European Union countries approved Covishield, the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India.
Government sources said Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Estonia and Spain have confirmed accepting Covishield for travel entry. Iceland and Switzerland, which too have allowed Covishield for travel to the country, are not part of EU.
Estonia has confirmed that it will recognise all vaccines authorised by the Indian government — Covishield and Covaxin — for travel of Indians to Estonia. Sources said India will extend the same approvals to citizens of these countries.
Foreign minister S Jaishankar had raised the matter of approving Indian vaccines with EU high representative Joseph Borell Fontanelles.
Meanwhile, Serum Institute has submitted an application to the European Medicines Agency for approval for the “Green Pass”. Serum officials were quoted as saying that they expected the EMA clearance in a month. Covaxin is yet to be cleared by the WHO and it is expected that EMA will okay it after that approval is granted.
Some other countries are also tending towards accepting Indian vaccines.
India has requested EU member states to individually consider extending exemption to those people who have taken Covishield and Covaxin and said it would institute a reciprocal policy for recognition of the EU Digital Covid Certificate, according to sources.
“We have requested EU member-states to individually consider extending similar exemption to those who have taken Covid-19 vaccines in India, i.e. Covishield and Covaxin, and accept the vaccination certificate issued through the CoWin portal. The genuineness of such vaccination certification can be authenticated on the CoWin portal,” a source said.
The EU rolled out a “Green Pass” from Thursday as a kind of vaccine passport to enable hassle-free movement of people between EU countries. Under this framework, people inoculated with vaccines authorised by the EMA will be exempted from travel restrictions within the EU, sources said, adding that individual member states have the flexibility to also accept vaccines that have been authorised at the national level or by the WHO.