At least seven European countries including, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland and Spain, and Switzerland have approved the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine for 'Green Pass'.
Separately, Estonia has also confirmed that it will recognise all vaccines authorised by the government of India for the travel of Indians to that country, the sources told PTI.
The EU Digital COVID certificate or 'Green Pass' will be mandatory to travel to European countries and the document will serve as proof that a person is vaccinated against COVID-19.
The EMA had earlier cleared only four vaccines - Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Moderna, Vaxzervria (AstraZeneca), Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) for the green pass.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
The development comes a day after India asked the members of the 27-nation grouping to individually consider allowing Indians who have taken Covishield and Covaxin vaccines.
New Delhi also conveyed to the EU member states that it will adopt a policy of reciprocity and exempt European nationals holding the 'Green Pass' from mandatory quarantine if its request to recognise Covishield and Covaxin vaccines is heeded to.
The European Union's Digital COVID certificate or "Green Pass" is set to be rolled out on July 1 with an aim to facilitate free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under this framework, persons who have taken vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be exempted from travel restrictions within the EU region.Earlier, an EU official had said that the individual member states have the flexibility to also accept vaccines that have been authorised at the national level or those approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).