India has asked the member states of European Union (EU) to allow Indians vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — to travel to Europe under the bloc’s ‘Green Passport’ system or be prepared for reciprocal measures.
India has requested the EU member nations to accept the vaccination certificate issued through CoWIN portal, sources said.
EU’s digital COVID certificate framework to facilitate free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic is to come into effect on Thursday. Under this framework, persons who have taken vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be exempted from travel restrictions within the EU.
“We have requested EU member states to individually consider extending similar exemption to those persons who have taken COVID-19 vaccines in India, that is Covishield and Covaxin, and accept the vaccination certificate issued through the CoWIN portal,” a source said.
“We have also conveyed to EU member states that India will institute a reciprocal policy for recognition of the EU Digital Covid Certificate,” the source added.
On notification of Covishield and Covaxin for inclusion in EU digital Covid Certificate and recognition of Indian CoWIN vaccination certificates, Indian health authorities would reciprocally exempt the EU member state concerned from mandatory quarantine of all those persons carrying EU digital COVID certificate, the source said.
Also read: Covishield left out of EU travel list: Poonawalla to take up issue, hopes for quick resolution
As per news reports, Covishield and Covaxin may not be a part of the vaccines approved by EU for travel to member states, and there are apprehensions that Indians will not be able to travel to Europe under the scheme.
India had approved Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in January this year for use in country’s vaccination programme against COVID-19.
On Monday, Serum Institute’s CEO Adar Poonawalla said that he has taken up travel issues being faced by Indians vaccinated with Covishield with regulators as well as at a diplomatic level with countries, and hoped for a quick resolution.
On Wednesday, he expressed confidence about receiving approval from the European Medicines Agency for Covishield in about a month, and said the issue of vaccine passports depends on “reciprocity” between two countries.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday took up the issue of inclusion of Covishield in EU digital Covid certificate scheme during a meeting with Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative of the European Union. The meeting took place on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in Italy.
(With PTI inputs)