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In Summary

•The Astra Zeneca vaccine is made is several sites across Europe and also in India. The version made in India is called Covishield.

•The region has also adopted a digital certificate, which shows if one has been vaccinated against Covid-19, and has a negative test or has recently recovered.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is vaccinated at State House, Nairobi, on March 26, 2021.
NOT YET: President Uhuru Kenyatta is vaccinated at State House, Nairobi, on March 26, 2021.
Image: Handout

Kenyans will have to wait longer to travel to the European Union when it reopens to foreigners on July 1.

The region has a list of "safe" countries from which to allow visitors on non-essential travel but Kenya is not included.

Also, all foreigners must have been immunised with a Covid-19 vaccine approved by the EU. However, the Covishield vaccine being used in Kenya is not among those approved in the EU. 

Sputnik V, which was also taken by a few people, has not been approved.

An official at the EU offices in Nairobi said a decision on Covishield will be made in the coming weeks.

“The approvals for vaccines for use within the European Union are issued by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). We are aware that the Covishield vaccine produced in India has not yet received the EMA approval, but the EMA is currently examining it,” the official said.

AstraZeneca requested the approvals for the EU approved version several months ago, while the India version (Covishield) request came in much later, the official said.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is made in several sites across Europe and also in India. The version made in India is called Covishield.

“We cannot pre-empt the decision of the EMA, so there is no guarantee but the indications are that the outcome is likely to be positive for Covishield. A decision is due in the coming weeks,” he added.

The region has also adopted a digital certificate, which shows if one has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has a negative test or has recently recovered.  

The EU members officially adopted the scheme on Monday after the presidents of the three main EU institutions – the parliament, the council, and the commission – signed the regulation.

It becomes effective on July 1 and will be in place for one year.

Under the plans, anyone from a safe country who has received minimum one dose of an EU-approved vaccine at least two weeks beforehand will be permitted entry.

The EU official told the Star that Kenyans who took the approved vaccines abroad would be allowed entry into the EU, but in addition they must present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior.

The requirements can vary for each EU country.

So far, the EU has approved four vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-Astra Zeneca (made in Europe) and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson.

According to the new guidelines, “safe” countries should have no more than 75 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in the previous 14 days.

It also says the trend should be stable or decreasing and there should be a good number of tests in the country, and show a minimum percentage of negative tests. Variants of concern will also be taken into account. By John Muchangi, The Star

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