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EU Green Pass: Member states have option to authorise Covishield for digital COVID-19 certificate, says official

According to schengenvisainfo.com - EU's official portal for visa-related information - only the Vaxzervia version of AstraZeneca vaccine - manufactured in the UK and other sites in Europe - is eligible for Green Pass.

June 29, 2021 / 02:34 PM IST
A vial of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is produced in India and marketed as Covishield (Representative image: Reuters)

A vial of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is produced in India and marketed as Covishield (Representative image: Reuters)

European Union 'Green Pass' scheme is aimed at facilitating safe free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic within the EU and member states have the option to authorise vaccines approved by the WHO, an official has said.

India-made Covishield, a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, has been excluded from the list of COVID-19 vaccines that are eligible to avail the European Union (EU)'s 'Green Pass'.

"EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate is to facilitate free movement inside the EU. It is not a pre-condition to travel," an EU official told CNBC TV-18.

READ: EU excludes anti-COVID-19 vaccine Covishield from 'Green Pass' list

The official further said that for the purpose of the certificate, individual Member States will have the option to accept vaccinations authorised by the World Health Organization (WHO), including Covishield.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Only four vaccines -- Comirnaty of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Vaxzervria by AstraZeneca-Oxford and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen -- have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and only those vaccinated by these vaccines will be given vaccination passports and will be allowed to travel within the EU.

The European Medicine Agency (EMA) has said that that it has not received a request for approval. "EMA will examine any such request when received, as per its procedures," EU official told ANI.

The official also said that EMA doesn't investigate new drugs on its own, unless asked by relevant companies.

Also read: Covishield not accepted for EU travel | Will resolve this matter soon: Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla

According to schengenvisainfo.com - EU's official portal for visa-related information - only the Vaxzervia version of AstraZeneca vaccine - manufactured in the UK and other sites in Europe - is eligible for Green Pass.

Meanwhile, Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), has said that has taken up the issues faced by Indians who have taken the Covishield jab travelling to the European Union at the highest levels and hoped to resolve them soon.

Explained: Here are the rules for international student travel from India

"I realise that a lot of Indians who have taken Covishield are facing issues with travel to the EU, I assure everyone, I have taken this up at the highest levels and hope to resolve this matter soon, both with regulators and at a diplomatic level with countries," Poonawalla had said in a tweet.

Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of COVID-19



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first published: Jun 29, 2021 02:34 pm
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