Nine European countries have confirmed that they will allow travellers from India who have received Oxford-AstraZeneca developed Covishield vaccine to enter their territory, a person familiar with the development said Thursday.
One of the nine – Estonia – has said that it will recognize all the vaccines authorised by the Government of India for the travel of Indians including the Russian-developed Sputnik and the US developed Moderna Inc’s vaccine, the person cited above said.
Austria, Germany, Iceland, Greece, Slovenia, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland besides Estonia are the nine countries that have confirmed that they will permit Indians inoculated with Covishield to travel to their countries.
This comes on a day that the European Union (EU) Digital Covid Certificate framework, to facilitate free movement during the covid pandemic, comes into effect.
On Thursday, India had requested countries in the European Union (EU) to allow Indian travellers who produce a vaccination certificate issued by the India government’s CoWIN portal to be exempted from travel restrictions like mandatory quarantine or self isolation after arriving at their destination. The EU has 27 member countries.
“Under this (EU Digital Covid Certificate) framework, people vaccinated with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be exempt from travel restrictions within the EU. Individual member states have the flexibility to also accept vaccines that have been authorized at the national level or by the World Health Organization,” a second person familiar with the development had said on Thursday.
“We (India) have requested EU member states to individually consider extending similar exemption to those persons who have taken covid-19 vaccines in India i.e. Covishield and Covaxin, and accept the vaccination certificate issued through the CoWIN portal,” the person said. “The genuineness of such vaccination certification can be authenticated on the CoWIN portal,” the second person had said.
“We have also conveyed to EU Member States that India will institute a reciprocal policy for recognition of the EU Digital Covid Certificate. Upon notification of Covishield and Covaxin for inclusion in the EU Digital Covid Certificate and recognition of Indian CoWIN vaccination certificates, Indian health authorities would reciprocally exempt the concerned EU Member State for exemption from mandatory quarantine all those persons carrying EU Digital Covid Certificate,” the second person had added.
Earlier this month, the European Parliament had given its go ahead to the EU digital covid-19 certificate, which would be given to those who have received the covid vaccine, recently tested negative for the virus, or recovered from it. The certificate which would be accepted by all EU member states is to start allowing people to move freely and facilitate the gradual easing of restrictions in the 27 countries. The certificate also exempts the holder from any additional travel restrictions such as quarantine, self-isolation, or testing, “unless necessary” for safeguarding public health. In case, an EU member state decides to impose restrictions, the measures would have to be notified, “if possible 48 hours in advance to other member states and the European Commission, and the public should be given 24 hours’ notice.”
The European Parliament had mandated that all member states must accept vaccination certificates issued in other EU countries for vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Presently, these include those vaccines manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson. The Oxford-AstraZeneca developed Covishield manufactured in India and Covaxin are yet to get the EMA clearance.