Vaccine passport system introduce by European union.

News

• New Vaccine passport system has come into effect across the European Union from July 1st

Green Passport

• European Union – EU Digital COVID Certificate.
 Ease travel restrictions for people travelling to
EU countries.

• 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
movement restrictions.

• 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.

Issue

• EMA – listed only four vaccines.
 Vaxzevria (Oxford-AstraZeneca)
 Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech)
 Spikevax (Moderna)
 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.

Current Status

• 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
Covaxin.

• Hope – enough pressure will be built on the EMA to include exemptions for Indian vaccines
as well.