New Delhi: Amidst reports of Covishield recipients having difficulty travelling abroad, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), assured the nation on Monday (June 28, 2021) that the issue is being addressed at the highest level.
“I realise that a lot of Indians who have taken COVISHIELD are having problems travelling to the EU,” Adar Poonawalla tweeted. “I assure everyone that 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.”
I realise that a lot of Indians who have taken COVISHIELD are facing issues with travel to the E.U., 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.
— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) June 28, 2021
The statement comes as reports of the European Union’s new Green Pass concept, which is an immunity document meant to ease travel within and to the bloc, are making the rounds in the media.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has currently approved only four COVID-19 vaccines for the programme, and the Covishield vaccine developed by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) is not among them.
Despite the fact that Covishield has been approved by the WHO, the ‘Green Pass’ programme only accepts EMA-approved vaccines. Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Moderna, Vaxzervria (AstraZeneca-Oxford), and Janssen are the four COVID-19 vaccines approved by the EMA (Johnson & Johnson).
This latest development comes as a surprise to the public because, while the India-made COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, has not yet been approved by the EMA for the programme, the Vaxzevria, which is a version of the AstraZeneca shot produced and manufactured in the UK or other locations throughout Europe, has.
Furthermore, the development is concerning because the majority of people in India have received Covishield vaccinations. However, it is unclear how much impact these certificates will have on Indian citizens who wish to travel abroad.