Mirror Online: LONDON, England – Millions of Brits may be unable to take European holidays this summer because their Indian AstraZeneca vaccines are not recognised by the EU’s passport scheme, it is reported.
Up to five million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine called Covishield, and produced by the Serum Institute of India, have been given out in the UK.
But these doses have not been approved by the European Medicines Agency.
While the government is reportedly looking to remove quarantine restrictions for travel to amber-listed European countries by the end of this month, to boost holiday hopes, this now comes as a blow for many.
Tourists who have had the Indian sourced doses would be flagged up at the EU border.
The EU Digital Covid Certificate, now in operation to allow travel without quarantine, would not recognise the Indian AstraZeneca batch numbers 4120Z001, 4120Z002 and 4120Z003 which are noted on the NHS app.
The EMA approved vaccines are the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and the Oxford AstraZeneca jab manufactured in the UK or Europe, which is sold under the brand name Vaxzevria.
“Entry into the EU should be allowed to people fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines authorised in the EU,” a European Commission spokesman told The Telegraph.
“Member states are… not required to issue certificates for a vaccine that is not authorised on their territory.”
British authorities have used the brand name Vaxzevria on all medical records where the AstraZeneca vaccine has been used, even if they are the Indian-made Covishield version, so the batch numbers are the only identifier.
The Department of Health have reportedly not said how many Indian-made AstraZeneca jabs have been given out in the UK claiming commercial sensitivities.
But it has been widely reported that five million doses have been imported from India earlier this year.
The reason why the Indian-made vaccines are not allowed by the EMA is because no license has been sought yet for them.
But the decision has been strongly criticised in India with its foreign minister and the chief executive of theSerum Institute of India having reportedly raised the issue with the EU.
It is a similar problem for UK travellers to the US where no AstraZeneca jabs have yet been licensed.