SII applies for EU ‘green pass’ nod through UK partner
The Green Pass is an immunity document meant to ease travel within and to the European Union from July 1. “The EMA certification has been applied for by SII via its partner AstraZeneca,” said an industry insider familiar with the matter, on condition of anonymity.
Serum Institute of India (SII) has applied to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for marketing authorisation of its Covishield vaccine through its partner company, United Kingdom-based AstraZeneca, for it to be eligible for the European Union’s Green Pass, said people familiar with the matter.
The Green Pass is an immunity document meant to ease travel within and to the European Union from July 1.
“The EMA certification has been applied for by SII via its partner AstraZeneca,” said an industry insider familiar with the matter, on condition of anonymity.
A day earlier, EU had said in a statement that EMA has not received any authorisation request for Covishield. But on the same day, European Union’s ambassador to India and Bhutan, Ugo Astuto, had clarified to news agency ANI that reports of Covishield being banned in Europe were not true.
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“It is to clarify there is no banning on Covishield, we have set up in place a new system of Digital Covid Certificate which is meant to facilitate travel within the European Union. Basically, this certificate is proof that a person is vaccinated against Covid or received a negative test or recovered from Covid-19. So this is meant as a facilitator but it is not a precondition for travel,” Astuto said.
Travellers vaccinated with Covishield are currently not eligible for the EU Green Pass, as EMA recognises only four Covid-19 vaccines that have received EU-wide marketing authorisation so far.
While the list includes Vaxzervria, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine shot produced and marketed in the United Kingdom and other sites around Europe, it does not include Covishield, which is the same vaccine manufactured locally in India by SII. The other three vaccines that EMA has approved for use are Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
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“I realise that a lot of Indians who have taken Covishield are facing issues with travel to the EU. 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,” tweeted Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer, SII, on Monday.
Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin are the two vaccines that are currently being administered under the national Covid-19 immunisation programme, with 289.6 million doses of Covishield having been already administered under the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive that began on January 16, according to the central government’s CoWIN dashboard.