Delegation of the European Union to the African Union

The European Union Delegation to the African Union issues the following statement to provide clarifications concerning the EUs Digital COVID Certificate.

Addis Abeba, 01/07/2021 - 16:29, UNIQUE ID: 210701_16
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The main objective of the European Union and its Member states remains that as much of the world's population as possible be vaccinated as quickly as possible.

The European Union has been the leader of international solidarity, as of May 2020, and has financed a large part of the doses distributed so far in the world via COVAX. And we will continue by giving COVAX at least 100 million doses (Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca) by the end of the year. At the same time, the EU has stepped up production of vaccines to export more than 400 million doses to 50 countries, making Europe the world's only exporter along with China.

As one of the main contributors to COVAX, we fully respect the choice made by GAVI and COVAX to base its overall vaccination campaign primarily on Covishield. Several million people, including European citizens, have been vaccinated with the Covishield vaccine across the world, including in Africa. This is an important step forward in our collective effort for global immunisation.

The vaccines authorised in the European Union are validated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) independently and on the basis of strictly scientific criteria, as is the case in many countries in the world. Of course, the decision of the World Health Organisation to put other vaccines, such as Covishield, on its emergency list, is observed with great interest for the European Union and represents an important step forward for global vaccination.

To be authorised in Europe, the vaccine producers concerned must submit an application to the European Medicines Agency. This could be the case for AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine produced in India. It is important to note that a request for authorisation was not made by the producers established in this country yet. Although they are well informed of the procedure. In addition, the EMA regularly inspects production units for approved vaccines. The European Union and the European Medicines Agency stand ready to consider the request for authorisation for the Covishield vaccine, as soon as it is sent by AstraZeneca or its Indian producer. 

The lack of authorisation of the Covishield vaccine on the European market is not an absolute constraint on the entry of third country nationals vaccinated with this vaccine. Due to the continuing pandemic in the world and in Europe, access to European territory remains limited to a certain number of countries for essential travel, as is the case for most countries in the world. The Covid Certificate is currently limited to intra-Schengen travel. However, the European Union is working closely with several third countries to ensure interoperability and mutual recognition of the respective certificates. This will help facilitate the resumption of non-essential travel for vaccinated populations, including with vaccines not authorised by EMA. In the latter case, this decision rests with the individual Member States. Of course, for other travellers from authorised countries, it is always possible to access the Schengen territory by obtaining a visa, if necessary, and proof of a PCR test for the moment negative within a prescribed time limit.

The Union remains a supporter of its partners, including those from Africa, in this period of crisis. Civil protection mechanisms were activated at the request of Tunisia and Namibia to support their hospital systems, which are facing a new wave. Moreover, 100 million euros were mobilised to support vaccination campaigns on the continent.



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