Millions may be banned from EU holidays over Indian AstraZeneca vaccination
THE European Medical authourity says up to five million Britons could potentially be barred from holidaying in Europe because they received an Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, reports suggest.
The Department for Health who did not say how many doses of the Indian-made vaccine have been administered in the UK, but insisted that about five million doses were imported into the country this year as was widely reported.
‘As we continue to cautiously reopen international travel, ‘NHS COVID-19 Pass’ will be a key service that allows people to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination status.’
The statement added that all AstraZeneca doses used in the UK appeared under the name Vaxzevria in medical records and on the NHS app, even if they were made in India.
Travellers who have been given this jab could therefore find themselves turned away at EU border crossings when the batch number is checked on their digital COVID-19 passport.
The EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate allows people who are fully vaccinated, recently tested or recovered to travel across the continent without having to quarantine or undergo further testing on arrival.
However, it only recognises EMA-approved doses, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in the UK or Europe.
People will be able to see whether they have had one of the SII jabs by checking the batch number, which is included on vaccine cards and in the COVID-19 travel pass accessible via the NHS app.
There is no suggestion the Indian-made jabs are in any way less effective.
The EMA has not approved the Covishield version because the manufacturers have not yet sought a licence for the product in Europe, the newspaper reports.
The European Commission has said that entry into the EU should be open to those who are fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines authorised in the EU.
Coronavirus travel restrictions are likely to be high on the agenda when Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes German Chancellor, Angela Merkel to the UK for talks today.
Mrs Merkel has been pressing EU leaders to impose stringent quarantine requirements on arrivals to the bloc from Britain, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson said double jabs will be a liberator when asked about reports that fully vaccinated people may be able to travel quarantine-free from amber list countries by July 26.