The Covishield COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been approved for use in the EU.👇
Canadians dreaming of taking a trip to Europe this summer may face extra hurdles if they've received at least one dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine produced by Verity Pharmaceuticals and the Serum Institute of India (SII), which is known as Covishield.
The vaccine is not currently eligible for the EU's Digital COVID Certificate (a proof of vaccination program) which launched on July 1.
The vaccines that are eligible for the EU travel pass are those that have been given a positive assessment by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The EMA has given the green light for almost all of the same COVID-19 vaccines as Canada, including Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
However, while Canada also approved the version of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the SII, the EU didn't.
What is Covishield?
Covishield is the SII-manufactured version of AstraZeneca's British-made Vaxzevria vaccine, which has been authorized for use in the EU.
The vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India has been approved in Canada, but not in the European Union.
On its website, Health Canada says it has "reviewed the manufacturing information for these vaccines and found them to be comparable."
What does this mean for Canadians who got Covishield?
If and when Europe's travel pass is extended to international travellers, Canadians who received at least one dose of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine may find it harder to travel to some countries because the existing passport plan doesn't recognize Covishield.
According to the federal government's latest data, 272,042 Canadians have received at least one dose of the Covishield vaccine.
So, what happens next?
BBC News reports that the Serum Institute of India is now seeking emergency authorization in the EU for the Covishield vaccine.
The CEO and owner of the SII tweeted on Monday, "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."
For now, the Government of Canada continues to advise against all non-essential travel, even for fully vaccinated Canadians.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.
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