With global travel on the horizon, vaccine passports are being given the number one priority. Many airlines and countries are now relaxing travel rules for fully vaccinated travellers. Europe is now open to fully vaccinated tourists from certain countries. However, a holiday to Europe was seeming to be a far-flung dream for Indian travellers. There had been reports of travellers vaccinated with Covishield, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine manufactured in India, might not be eligible for the European Union’s Green Pass that eases travel to Europe. But as per reports, now nine countries in Europe are accepting Covishield for travel. These 15 countries are:
Some important decisions today:
👉🇧🇪 will donate a first load of vaccines to COVAX this month. Meanwhile we explore ways to scale up local manufacturing
👉🇧🇪 recognizes Covishield, AZ vaccine distributed by COVAX. Important to fight vaccine inequality & vaccine hesitation. pic.twitter.com/6USc2AnQYu
— Meryame Kitir (@MeryameKitir) July 7, 2021
Switzerland has announced that it will allow the entry of fully vaccinated Indians but they will have to undergo the compulsory quarantine. According to a Live Mint report, the Embassy of Switzerland based in New Delhi has stated, “The Embassy of Switzerland in New Delhi is currently accepting all visa categories for persons coming from third countries such as India…who can prove that they have been fully vaccinated.” Estonia has confirmed that it will accept all vaccines authorised by the Indian government for travel to that country.
There Is No Banning On Covishield For Europe Travel
European Union Ambassador to India, Ugo Astuto clarified that there was no ban on India’s Covishield vaccine. He said the European Union had set up a new system of Digital Covid Certificate which was meant to facilitate travel within the European Union. He said, “It is to clarify there is no banning on Covishield, we have set up in place a new system of Digital Covid Certificate which is meant to facilitate travel within the European Union.”
What Is AstraZeneca Vaccine Batch Number?
Malta has modified its travel rules after blocking British travellers who got batches of the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India from entering the country. Some reports say that three batches of the COVID-19 vaccine reportedly given to up to 5 million people in the UK has not been approved for travel from the nation. These batches are 4120Z001, 4120Z002 and 4120Z003. The vaccine cards received on the first appointment will have the batch numbers written or stamped on them. Alternatively, they can be viewed from the NHS app, owned and run by the UK’s The National Health Service by clicking “Get your NHS Covid Pass”.
According to inews.co.uk, Malta’s travel guidelines stated: “Entry will not be allowed if the vaccine batch on your certificate is from one of the following: 4120Z001, 4120Z002, 4120Z003. There is no official timeframe on the EU ban of these batches.” A British couple, Steve and Glenda Hardy, were not allowed to board their flight to Malta from the UK from receiving India-manufactured Covishield vaccines.
Only Four Vaccines Approved For EU’s Green Pass So Far
While the European Union had earlier said that member states can pass regardless of the type of Covid-19 vaccine, the latest specifications indicate that the pass will be limited to vaccines that have received EU-wide marketing authorization. At present, four vaccines have been approved by the European Medicines Agency and that includes Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Moderna, Vaxzervria (AstraZeneca-Oxford) and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
Travellers vaccinated with #Covishield, may not be eligible for the European Union ‘Green Pass’, launched to enable easy travel into & between EU countries.
The digital vaccine passport recognises #Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca vaccine) produced in the UK & Europe but not Covishield. pic.twitter.com/4KloXrk7nd
— Teena Thacker (@Teensthack) June 27, 2021
India-Manufactured Covishield Not On EU’s List
While Vaxzevria and Covishield are both the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines. the India-manufactured Covishield has not been recognised by the EMA yet. Astrazeneca’s Vaxzevria shot produced and manufactured in the UK and other places around Europe is approved. And while a majority of us have received Covishield, manufactured locally by Pune-based Serum Institute of India, travelling still remains a big question.
. @adarpoonawalla tells CNBC-TV18, he is taking up the issue of clearance for #Covishield with the European Regulator (EMA) & diplomatically, expects clearance in next few weeks pic.twitter.com/hSycfar3QA
— CNBC-TV18 (@CNBCTV18Live) June 28, 2021
COVAXIN By Bharat Biotech Not Included In WHO’s Emergency Use Listing
Europe has recently announced that it will welcome vaccinated tourists to boost travel and that it will allow people vaccinated with the shots mentioned in WHO’s EUL list. The COVAXIN produced by Bharat Biotech has not been included in WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL). This means that if you are vaccinated with Covaxin against COVID-19, you will not be able to make trips to Europe either.
— The Tribune (@thetribunechd) June 28, 2021
Though the borders are opening up, it is imperative to keep travel in the backseat and get vaccinated right now as India fights the deadly wave of coronavirus. You can always take a booster shot later to be eligible to travel to most countries once normalcy returns.