As India's COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield is still not accepted by at least 11 European Union countries, the Chief Executive Officer of the Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla announced financial assistance for students travelling in those countries. As per the latest tweet, the CEO has set aside Rs.10 crores for such students who can apply for support if needed. The CEO tweeted saying students have to 'incur some costs' as Covishield is not an accepted 'vaccine for travel without quarantine.'
As European states started unlocking amid reduced COVID cases, the EU created the European COVID-19 travel certificate to restore the freedom of travel, removing entry bans, quarantine obligation, and testing, according to EU's official visa portal (schengenvisainfo.com). Though the member states are not legally obliged to implement the certificate, all EU member states have agreed to a 'Green Pass' to travel across the continent from July 1. Furthermore, three types of EU’s COVID-19 passport have been launched - Vaccination passport, Test certificate and Recovery certificate, based on the traveller’s status.
However, only four vaccines have been approved by the European Medicine Agency - namely Comirnaty (BioNTech, Pfizer), Moderna, Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, Oxford) and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). Covishield - which is produced by SII in partnership with AstraZeneca, has not been specifically mentioned, leading to confusion as to whether Indians vaccinated on Covishield can travel to the EU or not. As Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and SII's Covishield have been excluded, India said that it will recognise the EU digital Covid certificate in reciprocation for acceptance of both vaccines.
In a needed boost to the Serum Institute of India (SII), 16 European nations had allowed travellers inoculated with Covishield to enter their countries in late July. Sharing a news report on Saturday, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted that vaccinated travellers must read the entry guidelines as it may differ from country to country. SII is yet to apply for formal marketing authorisation in the EU.
"It is indeed good news for travelers, as we see 16 European countries recognising COVISHIELD as an acceptable vaccine for entry. However, despite being vaccinated, entry guidelines might vary from country to country," tweeted Adar Poonawalla. As of date, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and France have accepted Covishield.