(ABOVE) A nurse displays a vial of Covishield, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India
An estimated five million British travellers who’ve been given India-made versions of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine via the NHS could face a possible travel ban from Europe.
A version of the AZ jab produced by Covishield at the Serum Institute of India (SII) is currently not recognised by The European Medicines Agency (EMA). This comes despite no evidence showing that it is any less effective than jabs made elsewhere.
As a result, reports say UK holidaymakers given this vaccine could be denied entry at EU border crossings when batch numbers are checked on digital Covid passports.
The new EU Covid certificate, which launched on Thursday 1st July, is designed to open up travel for those immunised against the virus, and enables those who are fully vaccinated to travel through Europe without having to quarantine or undergo further testing.
The Department of Health has not yet given a number of how many SII manufactured AstraZeneca jabs have been distributed in the UK, but said it believed up to five million doses had been imported earlier in the year.
Professor Adam Finn, from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said people should not be concerned about receiving doses of AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India, and that the issue with the EU was “an administrative hurdle”.
Vaccines currently approved by the EMA, are: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine made in Europe.