India on Friday said it expects that the European Union will consider those vaccinated in the country will be treated in the same manner as those inoculated by the 27-member bloc. Foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi made the comment while responding to questions regarding the EU allowing Indians in Europe after getting vaccinated against Covid-19.
The foreign ministry official added that the Indian government is in touch with countries in the European Union to recognise digital vaccine certificates issued by the CoWin platform on a reciprocal basis.
“Our expectation is that Indians who have been vaccinated through our domestic vaccination programme would be treated at par with those vaccinated in the EU,” Bagchi said during the ministry’s weekly press briefing.
On July 1, nine European countries reportedly recognised the Covishield vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India. The development came on the same day when the European Union started its “green pass” that allows anyone who is fully vaccinated with any of the five accepted vaccines – Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and the AstraZeneca shot manufactured and sold in Europe as Vaxzervria – to travel within the bloc.
Currently, Austria, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Slovenia and Spain, Iceland and Switzerland, recognise Covishield for travel purposes. Of the EU members, only Estonia recognises both Covishield and Covaxin.
On June 28, EU drug regulator European Medicines Agency said it would assess the manufacturing site of Serum Institute of India before approving the Covishield vaccine. The agency said its approval for the Vaxzveria vaccine does not mean the same for Covishield. The health body, however, added it had no role to play in decisions related to travel restrictions amid the pandemic.
Earlier, Serum Institute of India Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla acknowledged that several beneficiaries of the Covishield vaccine were facing problems in planning their travel to the European Union. Poonawalla said he had taken up the matter at the “highest levels”.