Malta has modified its journey entry necessities after blocking UK travellers who have received batches of the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India from getting into the nation.
The confusion has centred round a model of the jabs manufactured by the Serum Institute of India generally known as Covishield, which has not but been authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the new EU digital Covid certificate vaccine passport scheme.
Three batches of the Covid vaccine – reportedly administered to up to 5 million folks in the UK – had been listed being the Covishield jab underneath Malta’s entry necessities.
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However, the UK Government has insisted that the batch numbers in query are Vaxzevria, which is the accredited model of the AstraZeneca jab – and that no Covishield vaccinations have been issued in the UK.
There isn’t any suggestion that the batches are substandard, and many European international locations have individually stated they’ll settle for these batches.
The UK is on Malta’s pink checklist, that means folks cannot enter without being fully vaccinated. This meant that some folks – together with these with household there – had been unable to go to.
Which are the batches in query?
Three batches of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been reported to have been manufactured in India:
Your batch numbers must be written or stamped on the vaccine card you acquired at your first appointment.
You also can view your batch numbers through the NHS app, by clicking “Get your NHS Covid Pass”.
Why wasn’t Malta accepting the vaccines?
The EU Digital Covid Certificate launched on Thursday 1 July, and is designed to enable folks to journey freely throughout the area utilizing proof of vaccination.
Malta’s journey pointers acknowledged: “Entry will not be allowed if the vaccine batch on your certificate is from one of the following: 4120Z001, 4120Z002, 4120Z003. There is no official timeframe on the EU ban of these batches.”
Steve and Glenda Hardy, 64 and 63, had been reportedly turned away at Manchester Airport at 3.30am on Friday 9 July once they tried to board a flight to Malta, the place they had been set to go to their son. They haven’t seen him for over a 12 months.
“We were just gutted,” Mrs Hardy advised The Telegraph. “We thought we’d coated ourselves – we paid for PCR checks, downloaded the NHS app and printed off the letter – however we fell at the ultimate hurdle. I really feel like we’re in limbo.
“We haven’t seen our son since he moved there a 12 months in the past. We had our flights refunded by Tui, however that’s by-the-by. Our huge concern is that we simply don’t know once we’ll give you the chance to go to Malta.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated the Government can be taking over the problem with Maltese authorities, telling BBC Breakfast: “It isn’t proper and it shouldn’t be taking place.
“The medicines company, the MHRA, have been very clear that it doesn’t matter whether or not the AstraZeneca you may have is made right here or the Serum Institute in India, it’s completely the similar product, it supplies precisely the similar ranges of safety from the virus.
“So we will definitely converse to our Maltese colleagues to level all this out. Obviously it’s up to them what they do.”
He later confirmed: “The Maltese authorities have amended their travel advice so anyone who has an Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK (regardless of manufacture location) is able to travel without being turned away – with all vaccines having gone through rigorous safety and quality checks.”
Updated Maltese steerage states that the nation will settle for the NHS Covid cross so long as it shows the Vaxzevria vaccine, Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Spikevax (Moderna) or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
It provides: “There is no specific caveat regarding batch numbers and all double vaccinated passengers with official proof of one of these vaccines (plus 14 days) will be able to travel to Malta.”
The UK Government has acknowledged that every one the doses acquired from the Serum Institute of India are Vaxzevria, not Covishield.
And in a written assertion to the Welsh Senedd, the Health Minister Eluned Morgan stated: “To be clear, no Covishield vaccines have been given in the UK.
“All AstraZeneca vaccines given in the UK seem on the NHS Covid Pass as Vaxzevria. The EMA has authorised this vaccine and we’re assured journey won’t be affected.”