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Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawalla promises to get India’s Covishield into Europe’s vaccine passport

FILE PHOTO: Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Serum Institute of India poses for a picture at the Serum Institute of India, Pune
Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas
Fighting for his vaccine.

Serum Institute of India’s chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla on Monday (June 28) acknowledged the problems that several Indian citizens were facing in the process of their scheduled travel to the European Union. Poonawalla said that he had taken up the matter at the “highest levels.”

The Serum Institute of India manufactures the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine under the brand name Covishield.

“I realise that a lot of Indians who have taken Covishield are facing issues with travel to the EU, I assure everyone, I have taken this up at the highest levels and hope to resolve this matter soon, both with regulators and at a diplomatic level with countries,” he tweeted.

Europe’s new “vaccine passport” programme, which recognises a few Covid-19 vaccines whose beneficiaries will be able to travel in and out of Europe, includes the AstraZeneca vaccine but not Covishield, which is produced in India.

Four vaccines—BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca-Oxford, and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV—have been approved so far, according to the European Commission.

Poonawalla’s tweet came amid reports that travellers vaccinated with Covishield may not be eligible for the European Union’s “green pass,” a document that is meant for easy travel within and to the group of countries.

Many member-states of the European Union have begun issuing the digital vaccine passport to facilitate movement for work and tourism, according to The Hindu.

In June, India’s Covid-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation said that a single shot of the Covishield vaccine has an efficacy of 61% against the Delta variant of coronavirus, while two doses provide 65% protection. Cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 have forced multiple countries to reimpose curbs.

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