Belgium on Friday recognised the Serum Institute of India (SII)-manufactured COVISHIELD vaccine against the COVID-19 infection. The AstraZeneca and Oxford University vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII) is one of the main vaccines, said Arnaud Lion, Chargé d’Affaires, Belgium to India.
"Covishield is one of the main vaccines, which was, is and will be used under the COVAX facility. Covishield will be used not only in India or in neighbouring countries, but also all over the world. You cannot isolate a country," Lion said.
"Belgium recognises Covishield, the @AstraZeneca vaccine produced by @SerumInstIndia and distributed by COVAX. An important decision for India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh in the fight against vaccine inequality," Belgium in India tweeted.
Belgium 🇧🇪 recognizes Covishield, the @AstraZeneca vaccine produced by @SerumInstIndia and distributed by COVAX.— Belgium in India (@BelgiuminIndia) July 9, 2021
⁰An important decision for 🇮🇳🇳🇵🇧🇹🇱🇰🇲🇻 🇧🇩 in the fight against vaccine inequality! @MEAIndia @IndEmbassyBru @FMBhutan @MoFAmv @MFA_SriLanka @BDMOFA @MofaNepal. https://t.co/jf4jzLjYqM
Last week, the Netherlands recognised Covishield as a valid proof of vaccination against coronavirus.
Iceland, Switzerland and seven European Union (EU) countries also allowed the SII produced vaccine on July 1, a day after Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar took up the issue of inclusion of Covishield in the EU COVID-19 Vaccination Passport.
According to ANI sources, Germany, Austria, Greece, Slovenia, Ireland, and Spain have approved accepting Covishield for travel entries. Iceland and Switzerland have also recognised Covishield. Estonia will recognise all the vaccines approved by India for incoming travellers, said sources.
As European states started the unlocking process, the EU created the 'EU Green Pass' to restore the freedom of travel, removing travel restrictions, quarantine obligation and COVID testing. Based on the traveller's status, the EU launched three types of COVID-19 Passport- Test certificate, Recovery Certificate and Vaccination passport.
However, it approved four vaccines- BioNTech and Pfizer's Comirnaty, Johnson & Johnson's Janssen, AstraZeneca and Oxford's Vaxzevria and Moderna. However, COVISHIELD, which is manufactured by SII in Partnership with AstraZeneca and Oxford has not been particularly mentioned, leading to uncertainty as to whether people vaccinated on Covishiled can travel to European countries or not.
India had requested EU nations to individually consider exempting those who have taken Covishield and Covaxin and said it will make a reciprocal arrangement for recognition of the EU COVID Certificate.
Covishield is the India-made version of AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria vaccine that protects against the COVID-19. Developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, the vaccine is a Viral Vector-based technology that uses modified chimpanzee adenovirus ChAdOx1 as a vector.
The SII manufactured vaccine has an efficacy rate of 70 per cent, which climbs to 91 per cent, when both doses are taken 8-12 weeks apart.