India’s Covishield faces challenges in EU, and Covaxin in Brazil

India’s much-celebrated “homegrown” vaccines aren’t getting the international validation they crave and it’s making the Indian government livid.

Yesterday (June 30), India refused to recognise the European Union’s digital Covid certificate until it includes both the Indian vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin.

This wrath comes after the EU included the AstraZeneca jab named Vaxzevria among the four accepted vaccines but the identical, India-made version called Covishield didn’t find itself on the list.

The EU’s digital Covid certificate will allow people to enter the bloc, or travel without restrictions inside its borders, starting today (July 1).

The implication of excluding India-made vaccines is far-reaching with most of the fully vaccinated people in the country and Africa–which has so far received 30 million doses of Covishield via the Covax programme—are poised to face difficulty in travelling to Europe.

India said once the EU accepts both the Indian vaccines, it will exempt EU citizens from mandatory quarantine when they travel to India.

It’s kind of an empty threat considering the country has suspended international flights until July 31, and the EU has anyway been deterring its citizens from travelling to India due to the dangerous delta variant. Even in pre-pandemic times, more Indians lined up for Schengen visas to European countries than the other way around.