Can Indians now travel to European countries? Here is all you need to know about vaccine, Green Pass

The Embassy of Switzerland has recently lifted travel restrictions and Indians fully vaccinated with Covishield can travel to Switzerland, but the country does not approve Covaxin.
European countries are yet to lift travel restrictions for Indians.(Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)
European countries are yet to lift travel restrictions for Indians.(Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)
Published on Jul 01, 2021 12:54 PM IST
Copy Link | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Several European countries and member-nations of the European Union are on their way to approve the Serum Institute of India's Covishield for Green Pass, though travel restrictions for Indians have not been lifted. The European Union is rolling out an EU digital covid certificate also known as Green Pass from today which includes only four vaccines — Comirnaty of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Vaxzervria by AstraZeneca-Oxford and, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen. Only those inoculated with these vaccines will get this pass and will be allowed to travel with EU nationals during the pandemic.

India on Wednesday requested the member nations of the European Union to individually consider allowing Indians who have taken Covishield and Covaxin. The government also mentioned that once Covishield and Covaxin are included in the EU Digital Covid certificate and India's Co-Win vaccine certificate is recognised, India will also accept EU Digital Covid Certificate and will provide an exemption from mandatory quarantine.

'No controversy': Adar Poonawalla on Covishield being excluded from EU Green Pass

Germany Embassy in India spokesperson Walter J Lindner clarified that Germany already considers Covishield as a valid proof of anti-Covid vaccination as Covishield is just another version of the same vaccine (Vaxzervria by AstraZeneca-Oxford) approved by the European Union.

Switzerland, not an EU nation, has earlier announced that it would accept fully vaccinated third-country nationals (CHE, EU and WHO) from June 26. "The Embassy of Switzerland in New Delhi is currently accepting all visa categories for persons coming from third countries such as India...who can prove that they have been fully vaccinated," the embassy said.

Can Indians now travel to Europe?

This depends on country-specific guidelines as Switzerland is now allowing Indians fully vaccinated by Covishield. But several other European countries, including Germany, have not lifted the restrictions from India. And the restriction may remain there for some time

Why is Covishield not approved in Europe?

It is a misnomer to say that Covishield is not approved in Europe. In many European countries, Covishield is recognised as a valid vaccine against Covid-19. EU has not included it in its Green Pass as Covishield manufacturer Serum Institute of India did not submit an application to the European Medicines Agency. The EU also clarified that the Green Pass is for travelling withing the EU countries and not from outside. EU member nations have the provision to individually approve Covishield, as it is WHO-approved.

Will Covishield be included in the EU's Green Pass?

Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla has said it has now applied for EMA approval and it is only a matter of time now. Poonawalla expects that the approval will come in a month.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021