• The EU Digital Covid Certificate, or the “green pass” as it is popularly known, has been created to restore freedom of travel for the public and remove the barriers on entry placed due to the pandemic.
  • The EU Digital Covid Certificate, which has been created to ensure that restrictions currently in place can be lifted in a coordinated manner, is a digital proof that a person
  • has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, or received a negative test result, or recovered from the viral infection. The document is valid across all EU countries.
  • The certificate includes information such as name, date of birth, date of issuance, the name of the vaccine or the details of the negative test result or recovery from Covid-19.
  • According to the official European Union, the certificate holder should “in principle be exempted from free movement restrictions” and “Member States should refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on the holders of an EU Digital COVID Certificate, unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health”.
  • However, those who do not possess the certificate will be subject to the usual travel restrictions and quarantine rules which are in effect in every country.

Vaccines that have been approved by European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the purpose:

The EMA list only includes four vaccines now—Vaxzevria (Oxford-AstraZeneca), Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), Spikevax (Moderna) and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). None of the three vaccines which have been approved for use in India till date —Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V — feature on the list.

Why has Covishield not been included in the list?

  • Though Vaxzevria has been among the vaccines approved by EMA, Covishield, which is derived from AstraZeneca’s shot, is not on the list. EMA said Serum Institute of India has not applied for Covishield’s approval. Even if the vaccine is the same, different manufacturers of the same product need to submit separate applications for approval from EMA. This is because the EMA takes into consideration local manufacturing facilities.
  • Covaxin, which has not received WHO approval, has also not applied for inclusion in the EMA list.

India’s stand on ‘vaccine passports’:

At the recent meeting of G7 countries, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that India was “strongly opposed to a ‘vaccine passport’ at this juncture”. With vaccine coverage as a % of population in developing countries still low compared to