Monday, June 06, 2022

Bengaluru: Vaccine challenge for business team flying to Germany

Bengaluru: A six-member business delegation flying from the Kempegowda International Airport to Frankfurt on an Emirates flight on Saturday had a harrowing time as the airline staff did not allow them to board the flight, saying passengers who have received Covaxin and Covishield vaccines are not allowed into Germany as per a new circular received by them. After nearly a three-hour tussle, involving arguments and help from their agent, they were finally allowed to board the flight (EK 565) at 9.15 am. 

Software engineer Yogesh Dhariyal, who was part of the group, told TNIE that the problem arose because the Bengaluru staff of Emirates misinterpreted an official communication issued to them. “They got a mail stating that Simopharm is not allowed and somehow the Bengaluru airport team misinterpreted the whole mail. Those vaccinated with Covishield have been allowed inside airports since last year and public from other countries vaccinated with Covaxin are allowed from June 1,” he said.

The group was heading to Germany on a month-long business trip. “It was frustrating. We reached the airport around 6.25 am and our flight was at 10.35 am to Frankfurt via Dubai. We have valid business visas with two or three doses of vaccines and negative RTPCR certificates too. The supervisor of Emirates in Bengaluru refused to accept them and told us to go back. We fought a lot and called our agent in Bengaluru. He called the Emirates Regional Sales Manager and explained to him that we had adhered to all the guidelines. After a triple check, they allowed us. We have reached Germany now. There were no issues at all at the immigration centre here,” Dhariyal said.

Another flyer Ashish Sharma, not part of the group, tweeted at 7.22 am, “I am standing in check-in counter of Emirates to board a flight to Germany but suddenly we are not allowed to board flight with reason that Covishield and Covaxin is not allowed in Germany. Please confirm this.” 

When the Emirates Support Team was contacted, the response read, “Passengers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with vaccines approved by the Paul Ehrlich Institute (or equivalents of those vaccines used in non-EU countries) can enter Germany from non-EU  countries.” After furnishing a link on approved vaccines, the message added, “You can also check with the local authorities for more information.” There was no specific response to the issue spoken about. 

06/06/2022 New Indian Express

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