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Indian AstraZeneca scandal: EU refuses to recognize CoviShield vaccine and travel certifications

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Indian CoviShield is not recognized by Europe—for now. Photo: Flickr

Indian CoviShield is not recognized by Europe—for now. Photo: Flickr

A vaccine scandal erupted in Europe that will also affect Ukraine. The European Union has refused to recognize vaccination with the Indian drug CoviShield, produced in the image and likeness of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca, the news agency Reuters reports, citing Adar Poonawalla, the director of the Serum Institute of India.

Indian citizens who have received CoviShield vaccinations are not allowed to enter Europe, and certificates with the records about vaccination with this drug are not recognized.

The problem is that Europe's COVID certification system now recognizes only four vaccines: Moderna, BioNTech's Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca (but only the variant called Vaxzevria in Europe). But the Europeans did not recognize CoviShield as a variant of AstraZeneca.

The Ministry of Health of India has appealed to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on this matter. In a commentary to the online newspaper the EMA noted that Vaxzevria had been the only AstraZeneca vaccine applied for approval and use.

How does this concern Ukraine?

At the start of the coronavirus vaccination process in Ukraine, many Ukrainians received vaccinations with AstraZeneca's CoviShield drug purchased in India. The vaccine had been regularly supplied to the country until India suspended its export due to a large-scale outbreak of coronavirus in its territory.

Now Ukrainians who were vaccinated with an Indian drug and who have this drug listed in the vaccination certificate also run the risk of not passing control at the EU borders. At least until India resolves the issue of the CoviShield recognition by Europe.

Context. Meanwhile, on July 1, 2021, beta testing of COVID certificates will start in Ukraine. They can be obtained electronically through the application Diia. All Ukrainians who received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine can participate in the beta test.

To date there are three ways to obtain an international vaccination certificate in Ukraine. With this document, it will be possible to travel to those countries that recognize it.

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