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Individual states can accept Covishield vaccine certificates, says EU

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The EU on Tuesday sought to clarify about its Digital Covid Certificate and stated that its individual member states will have the option to accept vaccinations that have been authorised by the World Health Organization (WHO), such as Covishield, sources from Brussels told ET. The EU added that it was awaiting SII’s request for European Medicine Agency () authorisation.

This comes after the issue of Covishield’s exclusion from EU Green Pass threatened to snowball into a crisis with the African CDC issuing a strong statement against the EU move.

ET reported on Monday that India plans to raise the issue with the EU and has already moved France and the EMA on the Green Pass issue for Covishield. Concerning a possible EMA authorisation for Covishield, the EMA stated that it had not received a request for approval as of Monday, sources said, adding it will examine any such request when received, as per its procedures. The EMA does not investigate new drugs on its own, unless it is asked by the relevant companies, sources informed.

As to travel to the EU from India, temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU are currently in place from many non-EU countries, including India, due to Covid, sources said, adding EU member states will gradually lift these temporary travel restrictions at the external borders, based on developments of the health situation.

Meanwhile, the African Union Commission and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) noted with concern recent communication regarding the applicability of the EU Digital Covid Certificate “Green Pass” to different Covid-19 vaccines. The availability of such a certificate, with its potential to significantly facilitate free safe movement across all EU member states and certain associated countries, is a significant step forward. However, the current applicability guidelines put at risk the equitable treatment of persons having received their vaccines in countries profiting from the EU-supported COVAX Facility, including a majority of the African Union (AU) member states, stated the Commission and African CDC.

“Under such regulations, persons who received Covishield, despite being able to demonstrate proof of vaccination, would continue to be subject to public health restrictions, including limitations of movement and testing requirements, with considerable administrative and financial implications,” according to the African Union and Africa CDC statement.

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