India puts pressure on EU on “vaccine passport”

The European Union officially launched the “New Crown Digital Travel Certificate” (“Vaccine Passport”) on July 1, but has not yet included the AstraZeneca vaccine produced in India in its certified vaccine list, causing dissatisfaction in India. The Times of India quoted a source from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country on Thursday as saying that India has conveyed its position to the EU on this matter. New Delhi will formulate a policy that if the European side certifies the Indian vaccine, the Indian side will also recognize the EU vaccine and exempt it. Compulsory quarantine for entry of all foreigners holding EU “vaccine passports”. Analysis believes that this move means that if the EU still insists on rejecting India’s AstraZeneca vaccine, it may incur reciprocal measures by India.

The above-mentioned sources also mentioned that EU member states can each adopt flexible vaccine certification methods, implying that India can also “curve out” in this way. According to a report from Reuters on the 1st, nine European Union countries including Germany and Austria have actually included the Indian AstraZeneca vaccine in their national vaccine certification list. An anonymous Indian official familiar with the situation told the Global Times reporter that the decision of the EU drug regulatory agency is suspected of violating the principle of non-discrimination, which not only harms the interests of India, but may also cause dissatisfaction in other countries vaccinated with AstraZeneca.

The European Medicines Agency told Agence France-Presse that vaccines are biological agents, and subtle differences in the production process and production conditions may bring huge differences to the finished product. Although the AstraZeneca vaccine in India uses a technology similar to the AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK, according to EU regulations, the Indian vaccine is currently not approved. According to Radio France Internationale, there are 4 vaccines currently approved for marketing in the European Union: Pfizer vaccine, Modena vaccine, British AstraZeneca vaccine and Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Four other vaccines are in the evaluation stage, including the Russian “Satellite V” vaccine, the Chinese National Medicine vaccine, the German CureVac vaccine, and the US Novavax vaccine.

India’s “News18” news network quoted the European Union’s ambassador to India Astuto on the 1st to “cool down” the matter. He said that the “vaccine passport” aims to facilitate the movement of people within the EU, but it is not a prerequisite for travel to EU countries. Anonymous diplomats from EU countries in India told the Global Times reporter that although they have no right to evaluate the decisions of EU regulators, if the scope of application of the “vaccine passport” is expanded in the future, all countries will be vaccinated with the same proven effective vaccine. , Should enjoy equal entry opportunities and isolation treatment, otherwise it is hard to say fair, and may even lead to “vaccine discrimination.”