'No controversy': Adar Poonawalla on Covishield being excluded from EU Green Pass
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla is expecting to receive approval from the European Medicines Agency for Covishield in a month, following which Indians vaccinated with the two doses of Covishield will not face any travel bar in European Union countries. There is no controversy, the CEO of the world's biggest vaccine maker said adding that the issue has been just blown out of proportion. He also said that the issue of vaccine passports is different and it should be on the basis of reciprocity between the countries.
EMA and Green Pass
The European Union is rolling out a Green Pass to determine who can freely travel to the member countries and Covishield and Covaxin — India's two primary vaccines — are not there.
Covishield's exclusion has raised a few eyebrows as it is the same Astrazeneca-Oxford vaccine but developed in India. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) clarified that it did not receive any application from Serum Institute and Covishield does not have a marketing authorisation in the EU. However, it said that the member countries of the union are free to include Covishield in their Green Pass, as Covishield is approved by the World Health Organization.
The Green Pass is being implemented from Thursday.
Not really going to hinder anything: Adar Poonawalla
As reported by agencies, Adar Poonawalla said Serum has applied for EMA approval through Astrazeneca a month ago and there is no controversy. As of now, Indians are not allowed to travel to EU countries, but once the ban is lifted, they should not be barred because they have taken Covishield, Poonawalla said.
"The EMA is absolutely correct in asking us to apply, which we have through AstraZeneca, our partners, a month ago, and that process has to take its time. Even the UK MHRA, WHO took its time and we have applied to the EMA," SII CEO said.
"We are quite confident that in a month EMA will approve Covishield. There is no reason why not to because it is based on AstraZeneca data and our product is identical to AstraZeneca more or less and it has been approved by WHO, UK MHRA. So it's just a matter of time. It is not really going to hinder anything," Poonawalla added.
'Vaccine passport is about two countries'
Commenting on the issue of vaccine passports, Adar said it is between two countries. "The issue with vaccine passports is slightly different. What I am trying to say is that let us take a manufacturer outside of India. Let's say they have been approved by WHO and everyone in that country gets vaccinated taking that product and now when those citizens need to travel, what good is their vaccine certificate if it is not acknowledged and reciprocity is not there between the countries," Poonawalla said.
Govt push for Covishield and Covaxin in EU
India has asked the members of the European Union to individually consider allowing Indians who have taken Covishield and Covaxin vaccines, as that option is open. If these two vaccines are approved by 27 EU nations, then India too will exempt EU people holding Green Pass from mandatory quarantine in India, it said.
(With agency inputs)