Malta to accept all AstraZeneca vaccines given in UK, says transport secretary

Malta previously barred entry to anybody given an India-made vaccine

<p>Malta’s capital Valletta</p>

Malta’s capital Valletta

Malta will accept all travellers who have been vaccinated with an AstraZeneca jab in the UK, regardless of its manufacture location, the transport secretary has said.

The holiday island recently tightened its entry requirements to require British tourists over the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated; and those over the age of five to present a negative PCR test on arrival.

Malta previously said it would not accept AstraZeneca vaccines from batch numbers 4120Z001, 4120Z002 and 412Z003 as proof for entry, which relate to those made in India, known as Covishield.

Grant Shapps announced the change this afternoon, saying that all vaccines had gone through “rigorous safety and quality checks”.

The U-turn follows the story of a couple turned away at the airport because one of their vaccines was produced in India.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It is important to be clear to the public that this is not an ongoing incident, this is an incident which happened last week.

“The Maltese authorities have since amended their travel advice, so we would not expect this to happen again.”

Asked whether that meant no further passengers would be barred from boarding flights due to the Indian-made vaccine issue, the No 10 spokesman said: “Yes, in line with the current rules, all AstraZeneca vaccines given in the UK are the same product and have been subject to the same rigorous safety and quality checks.

“The European Medicines Agency, as well as our own medicines regulator, has authorised this vaccine, so travel should not be affected.”

The Independent has contacted the Malta Tourism Authority for a statement.

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