Brits who received Indian-made AstraZeneca jabs ‘could be barred from visiting Europe’

2 July 2021, 09:55 | Updated: 2 July 2021, 10:41

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) does not recognise a version of the vaccine produced by Covishield at the Serum Institute of India
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) does not recognise a version of the vaccine produced by Covishield at the Serum Institute of India. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

British holidaymakers could potentially be banned from visiting Europe because they were given Indian-made versions of the AstraZeneca jab.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said it does not recognise a version of the vaccine produced by Covishield at the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Holidaymakers given this vaccine could potentially be blocked at EU border crossings when batch numbers are checked on digital Covid passports.

The EU’s Digital Covid Certificate has launched today which is aimed at allowing Europeans to travel freely across the continent without the need for quarantine or rigorous testing on arrival in different countries.

READ MORE: What is the EU Digital Covid Certificate and can I get one?

READ MORE: Boris Johnson to meet Angela Merkel for talks on Covid travel rules

READ MORE: Boris Johnson says he wants life to return to ‘as close to it was before Covid’

Up to five million doses of the Indian-made vaccine have been administered in the UK and can be identified by batch numbers 4120Z001, 4120Z002, 4120Z003, according to the Telegraph.

These batch numbers appear on vaccine cards filled out at clinics where jabs are given.

However Professor Adam Finn, from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said the issue was likely to be just an "administrative issue."

"The most important part of this is that people who have received these batches should be reassured that they have received exactly the same stuff as people who have received other batches made elsewhere," he said this morning.

"This is an administrative hurdle that needs to be straightened out but people should not be concerned that they are in some way less well protected.

"We're in the early days of this new world of needed vaccine passports and there are lots of aspects of this that are still being sorted out for the first time.

"But it's clearly, ultimately not in anyone's interest, including the European Union, to create hurdles that don't need to be there."

As many as five million doses of the affected batches have been administered in the UK to date.

The EU Digital Covid Certificate allows those who are fully vaccinated to move across borders within the EU.

Only vaccines approved by the EMA are included.The EMA approved vaccines are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs manufactured in the UK or Europe.

A total of 161,981 confirmed and probable cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant have now been identified in the UK, according to the latest figures from Public Health England - up by 50,824, or 46%, on the previous week.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: "Cases across the UK continue to rise and it is incredibly important that we do not forget to be careful.

"The best thing we can do to protect ourselves and the people we love is to get the vaccine if eligible, get tested twice a week and practise 'hands, face, space, fresh air' at all times.

"Although cases are rising, we are not seeing a proportional rise in the number of people who are being admitted to hospital.

"The data suggest this is testament to the success of the vaccination programme so far and clearly demonstrates the importance of getting both doses of the vaccine."

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