Kenyans will have to wait longer to travel to European Union (EU) member states.
The EU is set to make available its Covid-19 passport for its citizens and residents, as well as for specific categories of travelers from third world countries, by July 1.
Kenya did not, however, make the list as the Covishield vaccine being used locally is not among those approved in the EU.
Covishield is manufactured in India.
The EU Vaccination Passport will be issued to those fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus, with one of the four vaccines approved by the European Medicine Agency.
- Comirnaty (BioNTech, Pfizer)
- Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, Oxford)
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
According to a local daily, AstraZeneca requested approvals for the EU approved version months ago while the request for approvals for the India version (Covishield) were forwarded much later.
“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,” an official at the EU offices in Nairobi told the Star.
The official also noted that while they can not pre-empt the decision, the outcome is likely to be positive.
“A decision is due in the coming weeks,” he added.
The passport will not look like a regular travel passport, it will be a one-page document, issued in digital format and printable.
Travelers will be able to show them to the border guards, either in paper format or in their smartphones or tablets.
Every certificate will contain a unique machine-readable QR code through which it is possible to securely verify the authenticity, integrity and validity of the certificate, as well as a digital signature.
The certificates will be issued in two languages, in English and the official language(s) of the issuing country.
The scheme will be fully running starting from July 1, 2021 until June 31, 2022.