• New Vaccine passport system has come into effect across the European Union from July 1st
• European Union – EU Digital COVID Certificate.
Ease travel restrictions for people travelling to
• Digital proof – Attests informations of the person.
Vaccinated by any one of the four European Medicines Agency approved vaccines.
Received a negative test result.
Recovered from the viral infection.
• Certificate – digital signature which is verified
when the QR code is scanned. • Issuing body – own digital signature key, all of which
are stored in a secure database in each country.
• Certificate – recognized by all 27 EU countries,
Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway.
• Possession of the certificate – exempted from free
• Member States – refrain from imposing additional
travel restrictions unless necessary.
• Lack of certificate – subjected to the usual travel
restrictions and quarantine rules which are in effect
in every country.
• EMA – listed only four vaccines.
Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
• None of the three vaccines – approved for use in India till date is featured on the list.
Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V.
• Only essential travel is allowed into EU
countries and that too special permission has
to be taken.
• Global concerns – Delta variant (first detected
in India), more restrictions are put in place.
Stand of the European Union
• Reason behind excluding – Serum Institute of India’s Covishield is a biologically different product.
Needs to apply separately for EMA clearance.
• Serum Institute of India and AstraZeneca – Process of seeking clearances.
• Covaxin – yet to gain recognition from the
World Health Organization.
• Claim – Hint of racism.
Vaccines cleared by the EMA are those taken
by residents in Europe and North America.
World Health Organisation
• Stand of the WHO
Vaccine passports should not be made mandatory for travel and should be optional.
The proof of COVID-19 vaccination should not
be required as a condition of entry and exit from a country.
India’s stand on the Issue
• Recent G20 ministerial conference – External Affairs
Minister registered a strong protest over the issue.
• Sources – India was prepared to initiate reciprocal harsh quarantine measures against countries that discriminate against Indians.
India’s concerns – three-fold
• Vaccine inequality – vaccine passports being restricted to passengers from countries that don’t have the same access to vaccines
• Gain recognition to Covishield
• Indian-approved vaccines – Worldwide recognition.
Stance of Africa .
• African Union and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention – statement raising concerns
Covishield vaccine was the “backbone” of the EU-supported international
COVAX alliance’s programme in Africa.
• Nine countries – agreed to independently make
exemptions for Covishield
Austria, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland,
the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland have.
• Estonia – accepted both Covishield and
• Hope – enough pressure will be built on the EMA to include exemptions for Indian vaccines