Covishield exclusion| Working to resolve EU travel issues for Indians, says Adar Poonawalla

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Updated: June 29, 2021 8:15 AM

A European Union (EU) vaccine passport programme will allow people to travel freely within the bloc from July 1, as long as they have had one of four Western-made vaccines. While this includes the AstraZeneca shot, it does not extend to Covishield, the Indian version produced by SII.

covishield vaccineSerum produced 300 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines till mid-June and the country has administered 28.35 crore Covishield doses till date.

Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Monday said he was trying to resolve the problems being faced by Indians, who have been vaccinated with Covishield, in travelling to European countries.

A European Union (EU) vaccine passport programme will allow people to travel freely within the bloc from July 1, as long as they have had one of four Western-made vaccines. While this includes the AstraZeneca shot, it does not extend to Covishield, the Indian version produced by SII.

In a tweet, Poonawalla said he would take up the issued with the EU regulators and also deal with it 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,” he tweeted.

Serum produced 300 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines till mid-June and the country has administered 28.35 crore Covishield doses till date. SII has applied to the EU regulator, European Medicines Agency (EMA), for approval, but is yet to get it. The EU has recognised the Vaxzevria brand of vaccine made by AstraZeneca in Europe. SII has a tie-up with AstraZeneca to make this vaccine in India, sold under the Covishield brand name. Apart from Vaxzevria, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines have made it to the EU Green Pass list.

According to reports, the ministry of external affairs has already raised the issue of Covishield’s lack of recognition by the EMA.

—With agency inputs

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