The Netherlands became the latest European Union (EU) country to approve the Serum Institute of India (SII)-manufactured Covishield vaccine for travellers, days after India pushed for the approval of its COVID-19 vaccines in Europe.
According to the website of the government of the Netherlands, Covishield has been included in the list of approved vaccines along with the doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
People who have been fully vaccinated can be exempted from the EU entry ban unless they are travelling from a country that has been designated as a very high-risk area due to the presence of a variant of concern.
Earlier, Switzerland, Iceland and seven EU countries on Thursday allowed the SII-manufactured Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine, a day after external affairs minister S Jaishankar said he had taken up with the European bloc to accept COVID-19 vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin.
According to sources, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Estonia and Spain have confirmed accepting Covishield for travel entry. Switzerland has also allowed Covishield for the Schengen state.
Estonia has confirmed that it will recognize all the vaccines authorized by the Government of India for the travel of Indians to Estonia, said sources.
India had requested EU member states to individually consider extending exemption to those persons who have taken Covishield and Covaxin and said it will institute a reciprocal policy for recognition of the EU Digital COVID Certificate, according to sources.
“We have requested EU member states to individually consider extending similar exemption to those persons who have taken COVID-19 vaccines in India i.e. Covishield and Covaxin, and accept the vaccination certificate issued through the CoWIN portal. The genuineness of such vaccination certification can be authenticated on the CoWIN portal,” a source said.
The 27-member European bloc is introducing the EU Digital COVID Certificate framework to facilitate safe free movement during the COVID pandemic and it will come into effect from July 1.
Under this framework, persons vaccinated with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be exempted from travel restrictions within the EU, sources said adding that individual member states have the flexibility to also accept vaccines that have been authorized at the national level or by the World Health Organization.