Netherlands to Recognise Covishield as 'Valid Vaccine' Amid EU Green Pass Row

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The Netherlands on Friday recognised Covishield as a valid proof of vaccination against Covid-19 a day after the nine European nations said it would be accepting the India-made vaccines for travel to their countries.

The European Union’s Digital Covid certificate or “Green Pass” is coming into effect on Thursday 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. However, individual member states have the flexibility to also accept vaccines that have been authorised at the national level or those recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“People who have been fully vaccinated can be exempted from the EU entry ban, unless they are travelling from a country that has been designated as a very high-risk area due to the presence of a variant of concern,” the Netherlands government said on its official site.

The website also listed vaccines approved by the EMA/WHO: They are- Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty), Astra Zeneca EU (Vaxzevria), Johnson & Johnson ((COVID-19 Vaccine) Janssen), Moderna (Spikevax), Astra Zeneca-SK Bio (Vaxzevria), Serum Institute of India (Covishield), Sinopharm BIBP and Sinovac.

On Thursday, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland and Spain are among the countries allowing travel by people who have taken Covishield vaccines. Sources told PTI that Switzerland is also accepting Covishield as a Schengen state.

Separately, Estonia has also reportedly confirmed that it will recognise all vaccines authorised by the government of India for the travel of Indians to that country.

There have been apprehensions in India that people who took Covishield and Covaxin jabs are unlikely to be eligible to travel to the European Union member states under its ‘Green Pass’ scheme.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday took up the issue of inclusion of Covishield in the EU digital Covid certificate scheme during a meeting with Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative of the European Union.

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