As vaccine passports become more prevalent in some parts of the world, so does confusion about which jab you got. Last week, a British couple traveling to Malta were turned away from the airport because their Oxford-AstraZeneca jab was made in India rather than Europe. This has led to confusion among millions of Britons on whether they’ve received the eligible jab. Let’s find out more.
According to the Manchester Evening News, a British couple due to fly to Malta were not allowed to board since their vaccine did not meet the requirements. Both were double-jabbed with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, recognized in the UK and EU alike. However, the difference depends on where the jab was made.
The EMA (European Medicines Agency) only recognizes the AstraZeneca vaccine made in Europe (known as Vaxzevria) and not the one made in India (Covishield). This means travelers having taken the Covishield AstraZeneca jab will not be able to automatically use the EU’s Green Pass, unless individual governments approve the jab.
In the spring, the UK began receiving vaccines from the Serum Institute of India (makers of Covishield) for its vaccine rollout. This meant potentially up to five million Britons received Covishield instead of Vaxzevria, threatening to derail their summer holiday plans as happened to the couple in Manchester.
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How to check?
For those looking to quickly clarify their vaccine status, the process is simple. Travelers need to check their vaccine card or NHS app and check for the batch number. According to the Independent, only those with batch numbers 4120Z001, 4120Z002, 4120Z003 have received the Indian-made Covishield.
Considering the UK has given over 81 million doses in total, Covishield accounts for less than 6% of all jabs. This means most Britons have received the European-made jab and can travel freely this summer. However, even if you did get the Indian-made jab, it’s not too much of a worry.
The UK has recently stepped up efforts to ensure that all its citizens can travel. Malta has confirmed that it will allow travelers with any AstraZeneca jab to enter the country, allowing the Manchester couple and millions of others to fly. In total, 15 European countries are now allowing UK travelers will any jab to enter. There are, according to the Independent:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Notable holdouts include Italy, France, and Croatia.
It’s not only British travelers struggling with the rules. Despite being the same AstraZeneca vaccine, the EMA’s non-approval of Covishield means potentially millions of Indians will be unable to travel to Europe as well. However, with over half of EU government now accepting Covishield, expect more to follow suit in the coming weeks.
What do you think about the AstraZeneca manufacturing confusion? Have you been affected by the ban? Let us know in the comments.