In what is certainly the first diplomatic retaliatory move against vaccine nationalism, India has said it will only recognise EU digital covid certificate on a reciprocal basis. The EU “green Pass” is expected to come into effect from July 1.
The EU Digital covid certificate, known as the “Green Pass,” will exempt those who are fully vaccinated with vaccine approved by EU from mandatory quarantine.
“We have conveyed to EU Member States that India will institute a reciprocal policy for recognition of the EU Digital Covid Certificate. Upon notification of Covishield and Covaxin for inclusion in the EU Digital Covid Certificate and recognition of Indian CoWIN vaccination certificates, Indian health authorities would reciprocally exempt the concerned EU Member State for exemption from mandatory quarantine all those persons carrying EU Digital Covid Certificate,” sources said.
The European Union’s ‘vaccine passport’ programme has approved only four vaccines, Vaxzevria (Oxford-AstraZeneca), Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), Spikevax (Moderna) and Janssen-Johnson & Johnson.
Covishield is exactly the same as Vaxzevria, but failed to make the cut. Covaxin has not been considered, largely because it is yet to get a WHO approval.
Foreign minister S Jaishankar said he would be following it up with the EU authorities after discussing it with the EU high representative Josep Borrell on the sidelines of the G-20 foreign ministers’ meeting at Matera, Italy.
MEA sources said India had noted the fact that individual member states have the flexibility to accept vaccines that have been cleared by countries at the national level or by the WHO.
India is hoping countries like Hungary will accept Covaxin. Hungary is the only European country to administer Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinopharm vaccines to its citizens.
India has officially requested the 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.”
Indians can link their passports to the vaccination certificates on CoWin, making it a kind of vaccine passport. China is the only other country to insist that foreigners seeking to visit China should be vaccinated with the Sinopharm vaccine.