Sweden recognizes Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine made in India by the Serum Institute of India, as a valid vaccine against Covidfor traveling to the region because it is certified by the World Health Organization (WHO), the said Swedish Ambassador to India, Klas Molin.
The country will also accept Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech, as a valid vaccine once the WHO gives it the go-ahead, Molin said in an interview with Activity area.
“We believe in respecting the recommendations of the WHO and Covishield is definitely recognized. When the WHO approves Covaxin and puts it on its list, so will Covaxin, ”Molin said.
Wait for the nod for Covaxin
The WHO accreditation process for Covaxin is ongoing and the required information requested by the health agency is being submitted.
Sweden, which has a surplus of AstraZeneca vaccines, is ready to share it with other countries, including India, but only through the Covax initiative.
“The Swedish authorities ordered a large number of doses early on, including vaccines manufactured by AstraZeneca. As the vaccinations continued and it turned out that we had excess capacity, the government decided to redirect a large quantity to the WHO for use in the context of the program. operation Covax. In other words, it is not reserved but rather decided by the WHO, ”he said.
The Swedish government’s announcement in May this year to share 1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine with the Covax facility followed its decision not to vaccinate people under 65 with AstraZeneca. The country is now in talks to provide more vaccine doses to the WHO.
On the possible relaunch of the India-EU free trade agreement, Molin said Sweden was pleased to see progress made at the India-EU virtual summit in May this year.
“The high-level mechanism created has proven to be a very useful and constructive tool for moving forward, and we believe that the seriousness of the intention is evident on both sides. There are still obstacles and such an undertaking is not without difficulties. But we firmly believe that it is in the mutual interest and that it will greatly facilitate the exchanges, which will benefit people on both sides, ”he said.
If the FTA comes with an investment protection agreement, that would be very, very positive, he added.
While an investment protection deal will certainly be welcomed by more than 250 Swedish companies operating in India, including well-known names like Ikea and H&M, no one intends to step down in the meantime. “If you ask companies, they will tell you that they would like to see an investment protection agreement. The absence of one does not mean they are leaving India. But of course, having such an agreement adds security and predictability for FDI, ”he said.
Regarding possible areas for future cooperation, the ambassador said that sustainable and smart transport, with an emphasis on alternative fuels and renewable energies and the electrification of highways and vehicles, is essential. Switching from waste to energy was another promising area for sharing expertise.
“Today, there are entire districts, cantons and companies that are self-sufficient. The biogas produced by waste processing is, for example, used in buses transporting commuters to school and to work. Imagine if we could make whole cities like this in India too! “, did he declare. “, did he declare.
India and Sweden are discussing such collaborations under the Joint Action Plant and the Joint Innovation Partnership.
Meet the ministers
The Swedish Ambassador has already met the new Minister of Science and Technology, Jitender Singh, and the Minister of Communications, Electronics, Information Technology and Railways, Ashwini Vaishnaw.
“I am honored that they took the time soon after taking office to sit down and discuss with me how India and Sweden can cooperate even more closely on innovation, sustainability and creation. opportunities and jobs for green growth for all, ”he added.