As the European Union has begun opening borders to those fully inoculated against Covid-19, the European Commission on Friday suggested that travellers inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India could face problems when entering the European Union.
Stefan De Keersmaecker, the Commission's spokesman for health issues, noted that though the AstraZeneca vaccine produced in Europe called Vaxzevira has been approved by the European Medicines Agency, Covishield, manufactured in India, has not even requested for market authorisation.
"Of course, the Covishield manufacturer is always free to request the authorization of this vaccine, but for the time being, it is not the case," said Keersmaecker.
A share of the population in the UK has received Covishield jabs manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. As per BBC, about five million doses were imported from India. However, health authorities said they were not called Covishield, and they deemed it to be the same product produced in north Wales and Staffordshire.
On Thursday, an EU-wide Digital Covid Certificate was officially introduced. The certificate allows people to travel within the EU without restrictions if they are fully vaccinated by EMA-approved vaccines. Though member countries have the permission to accept travellers who have been inoculated by the WHO-approved vaccines such as Covishield, only 27 member states have announced acceptance.
Responding to questions on people from the UK being denied entry when travelling to the EU, Keersmaecker said, "In order to assure a coordinated approach here, the Commission is obviously in contact in discussion with the member states to go through these different vaccines and to see which is the best-coordinated approach."