EU backstabs India, won’t recognise Covishield; Time for Quid Pro Quo Blockade?

28 June, 2021 | newsx bureau

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While WHO is yet to give its nod to Covaxin, EU is gearing up to pose a roadblock for India by de-recognising Covishield. Indians, who got vaccinated with Covishield, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine...

Travellers vaccinated with Covishield, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine manufactured in India, may not be eligible for the European Union’s “Green Pass”, as per latest reports. Green Pass is an immunity docu ment that is meant to ease travel within and to the bloc. The European Union had earlier said that member states can issue certificates regardless of the type of Covid-19 vaccine. However, the technical specifications now suggest that the pass will be allocated to ‘vaccines that have received EU-wide marketing authorization’.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved four vaccines currently. These can be used by the EU member states for the issue of the certificates. These are Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Moderna, Vaxzervria (AstraZeneca-Oxford), Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). However, Vaxzevria and Covishield are both AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines. The India-made Covishield has not been recognised by the EMA, but the Vaxzevria, a by-product of the AstraZeneca, which is produced and manufactured in the UK or Europe is approved. 

Most of the people in India took the Covishield vaccine, which is locally manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India. With EU backstabbing India after WHO, the situation stands tense for Indian travellers. While WHO is yet to give its nod to Covaxin, EU’s blockade to Covishield comes at a tricky juncture and shows International hypocrisy. 

The World Health Organization’s Covax programme is meant to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, for which Covishield is considered. The joint digital travel certificate helps those who are vaccinated, freshly tested, or recently recovered from the virus. The EU has been working on it for months. These free certificates contain a QR code with advanced security features. This will allow people to move between European countries without having to quarantine or undergo extra coronavirus tests. Several European Union countries like Spain, Germany, Greece, and Poland have already started using the system. The rest of the countries are expected to start using it by July 1.