France recognises India's Covishield
France on 17 July 2021 said it will accept travellers who are vaccinated with Covishield, the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India. It is the 14th EU member to recognise the vaccine for inclusion in the EU green pass, which allows entry to travelers amid the Covid pandemic. Besides France, Covishield is now recognised for travel to Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Switzerland and Iceland, which are not part of the bloc, had also accepted Covishield as Schengen state.
- Meanwhile, the vaccine is yet to be approved in countries like Italy, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia. 14 of these are EU members while Norway and Lichtenstein are non-member states.
- France's move follows a global outcry over the fact that the European Union's Covid-19 certificate only recognizes AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Europe.
- Tunisia, Indonesia, Cuba and Mozambique have now been added to France's "red list" of countries with high virus risk.
- In the European Union (EU), there are two main routes for authorizing vaccines: a centralized route and a national route.
- While the majority of new, innovative medicines are evaluated by EMA and authorized by the European Commission, regulatory bodies of every country can also allow authorization to the vaccine within their jurisdiction.
- So far, the EMA has approved only those vaccinated by either of the four vaccines - Comirnaty of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna's Spikevax, Vaxzervria by AstraZeneca-Oxford, and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen - for restriction-free travel within the EU during the pandemic.
- That means people vaccinated with Covishield will be subject to quarantine protocols as enforced by individual member countries, and may even be blocked from entering some others.