Millions of Britons given Indian-made AstraZeneca doses ‘could be excluded from EU vaccine passport scheme’

Germany, Spain and others are reportedly willing to accept Indian-made doses of the AZ vaccine

Alastair Jamieson
Saturday 03 July 2021 10:12 BST
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Millions of Britons could be shut out of European holidays because some AstraZeneca jabs are not automatically recognised by the EU vaccine passport scheme, it was reported on Friday.

The new EU Covid certificate, designed to open up travel for those immunised against the virus, does not include batches of the vaccine produced in India because they have not been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The UK is among many countries to have approved the so-called Covishield version of the AZ jab, made by the Serum Institute of India. It is chemically identical to the original AZ version.

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Up to 5 million Indian-made doses have been administered in the UK, the Daily Telegraph reported, identifiable by their batch numbers as shown on patients’ card or in the NHS app.

Those Britons could be turned away at EU border crossings, the newspaper said.

Many other countries – including India itself – are also affected because the Indian-made version accounts for the majority of AZ doses supplied to poorer nations as part of the Covax vaccine-sharing scheme.

However, EU member states may accept non-EMA-approved vaccines if they wish.

Germany and Spain are among nine EU members who have told India they will accept the Covishield version, Indian foreign ministry sources told Associated Press.

The EMA said on Thursday it has not received any application for authorisation of Covishield, the version of AstraZeneca’s vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India

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