The European Union has excluded the AstraZeneca vaccine from its list of approved COVID-19 jabs required for entry and travel within its region.
The Serum Institute of India produces the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The EU launched the European Union COVID Digital Green Pass launches on Thursday to ease travel protocols to and within Europe for vaccinated and recovered passengers.
The protocol suggests that persons who have received both jabs of the AstraZeneca vaccine are not qualified to receive the Green Pass and may be subjected to further testing and isolation protocol upon entry.
The version of the AstraZeneca vaccine recognised by the EU is the Vaxzevria version produced in the UK or elsewhere on the European continent, cleared by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
ComirnatyⓇ (BioNTech, Pfizer), ModernaⓇ, Vaxzevria Ⓡ (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca), and JanssenⓇ (Johnson & Johnson) are the only vaccines cleared by EMA on its website.
The Serum Institute of India’s AstraZeneca vaccine also is not listed for review by the body.
This launch of the Green Pass will affect Nigerians and other Africans who had received the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and shipped via the COVAX Facility in March.
The WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) includes vaccines produced by the COVAX Facility, noting that it has assessed the AstraZeneca vaccine’s quality, safety, and effectiveness, and cleared it for distribution and administration.
WHO’s regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti had on Thursday in a virtual press conference addressed the concerns raised about the Green Pass.
Reacting to the development, the Indian institute’s CEO Adar Poonawalla stated on Twitter, “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.”