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Seven EU countries include Covishield vaccine in ‘green pass’

New Delhi: Covishield COVID-19 vaccine gets ‘Green Pass’ from at least seven European countries including, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland and Spain, and Switzerland.

The development comes a day after India asked the members of the 27-nation grouping to individually consider allowing Indians who have taken Covishield and Covaxin vaccine jabs.

Differences emerged between India and Europe in recent days over the exclusion of Covishield as an accepted vaccine by the European Union vaccine passport programme.

From today, the programme allows anyone who is fully vaccinated with any of five Western-made vaccines – Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca – to travel freely within the bloc, Reuters news agency reported.

The exclusion of Covishield, which is produced by India’s Serum Institute using methods analogous to the EU-approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine Vaxzevria but does not have EU market authorisation, stoked anger and the threat of retaliatory measures by India against travellers from Europe.

An Indian foreign ministry source said on Thursday that Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland had informed the Indian government that Covishield would be accepted for the purposes of travel.

Estonia has said it would recognise all the vaccines authorised by the Indian government, the source said, which would include Covaxin that has been developed by India’s local firm Bharat Biotech.

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