As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world, vaccine passports are well on their way to becoming a travel essential. But for those getting inoculated in India, there is a secondary problem that has cropped up. At present, the European Union's COVID-19 vaccination passport or 'green pass' does not include any of the vaccines that are being administered in the country.
While Vaxzevria (the version of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine that is produced in the UK and Europe) has been included in the list of approved vaccines, the Indian version - Covishield - does not feature. The news had created quite the stir, with reports indicating that the Ministry of External Affairs had taken the issue up with the EU.
Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Covishield manufacturer Serum Institute of India, also took to Twitter stating that he had "taken this up at the highest levels" and was hoping for a speedy resolution. According to the EU, however, there had been no request for approval put forth in the first place.
A European Union official on Tuesday told news agency ANI that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has not received any request for approval of authorisation of Covishield. According to him, the organisation does not investigate new drugs on their own, unless asked by the relevant companies.
"Concerning a possible EMA authorisation for Covishield, as of yesterday, the European Medicine Agency (EMA) stated that it had not received a request for approval. It will examine any such request when received, as per its procedures," the official said.
EU member states can also separately issue certificates for travellers injected with vaccines beyond those approved by the EMA. The European Union's 'Green Pass' will go into effect from July.
(With inputs from agencies)