Subsequent to Switzerland announcing that it will permit COVISHIELD administered Indian visitors, 7 other countries from European Union and Ireland have confirmed permission for Indian visitors who are administered COVISHIELD. The countries, as per sources, include Austria, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Slovenia and Spain. Ireland also confirmed accepting COVISHIELD.
The Green Pass, European Union’s Digital COVID Certificate will be in effect from today. European Medical Association (EMA) has earlier announced a list of approved vaccines based on which incoming visitors to any of the European Union countries will be allowed to enter.
This list included Pfizer’s Comirnaty, Moderna, Janssen by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZaneca’s Vaxzervria. COVISHIELD, which is also a AstraZaneca product, was not in the list. Under the rules, Indian travellers were subject to quarantine on visiting these countries. Both Covishield and Vaxzevria are the same vaccine: developed and licensed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. As a result, a majority of vaccinated Indians were considered unvaccanatited. However, the EU had said that member countries can opt to include other vaccines in their approved list.
Now, COVISHIELD has been accepted by 9 European countries, which means that Indian travellers administered with both doses of COVISHIELD will not be taken under quarantine.
Sources in the foreign ministry has suggested that India will begin a reciprocal policy of subjecting European travellers to mandatory quarantine, unless the countries accept both COVISHIELD and COVAXIN.
A meeting between Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishanker and Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union took place on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Italy. Jaishanker had taken up the issue of COVISHIEL being excluded from the EU Digital Certification Scheme.