The European Union has introduced the green pass, a concept of travel pass among the EU countries from July 1. It mentioned that people vaccinated with either of the four vaccines namely Comirnaty of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Vaxzervria by AstraZeneca-Oxford and, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen — will be allowed to travel in EU countries. Since the name of Covaxin and Covishield was not mentioned on the list, while its equivalent Vaxzervria was mentioned, a row erupted apprehending that Indians vaccinated with Covishield and Covaxin will not be able to travel to European countries.
Though the Indian government has been engaged in a quiet diplomacy to assist Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin to get international approval but Indian students vaccinated with Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin are doubtful about whether lack of approval for the India-made vaccine in Europe will impact their study plans. Many students are in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs and have also written to the company, requesting it to clarify the status of its vaccine abroad. They have asked the company if it has applied to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for approval for Covaxin, so that it can be included in the list.
This collective effort of students and Indian government’s diplomacy could result in approvals for the vaccine by several countries during July-August over and above the 15 countries that have approved Covaxin so far.
Contrary to China, India is not pursuing an aggressive policy to get Covaxin approved but rather a quiet diplomacy, advising Bharat Biotech on navigating the complex world of geo-economics in a transparent fashion and through submission of data at global institutions and various world capitals. While Covaxin is waiting for approval from the World Health Organization, some European countries have started recognising it so that when the countries withdraw the travel ban on India, Indians vaccinated with either of these two vaccines do not face any problem. Indian diplomats are guiding Biotech on the process to get approval from WHO.
Results from Phase-III final analysis have been published, more countries from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America have come forward to grant EUAS for Covaxin. Besides Estonia, Brazil, Philippines, Iran and Mexico are the countries which have approved Covaxin.