The confusion has centered around a version of the jabs made by the Serum Institute of India known as Covishield, which has yet to be cleared by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the New Regime. Vaccine passport with EU Covid digital certificate.
Three lots of the Covid vaccine – reportedly given to up to 5 million people in the UK – have been listed as the Covishield vaccine as part of Malta’s entry requirements.
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However, the UK government has insisted that the lot numbers in question are Vaxzevria, which is the approved version of the AstraZeneca vaccine – and that no Covishield vaccine has been issued in the UK.
There is no indication that the lots are of inferior quality, and many European countries have individually declared that they will accept these lots.
The UK is on Malta’s Red List, which means people cannot enter without being fully vaccinated. This meant that some people – including those who had family there – were unable to visit.
What are the lots in question?
Three batches of the AstraZeneca vaccine are said to have been manufactured in India:
Your lot numbers must be written or stamped on the vaccination card you received during your first appointment.
You can also view your lot numbers through the NHS app, by clicking on ‘Get your NHS Covid Pass’.
Why has Malta not accepted the vaccines?
The EU’s Covid digital certificate was launched on Thursday, July 1, and is designed to allow people to travel freely in the region using proof of vaccination.
Malta’s travel guidelines stated: “Entry will not be permitted if the vaccine bundle on your certificate is from one of the following: 4120Z001, 4120Z002, 4120Z003. There is no official calendar for the European ban on these batches. “
Steve and Glenda Hardy, 64 and 63, were reportedly turned back at Manchester Airport at 3.30am on Friday 9 July as they attempted to board a flight to Malta, where they were due to visit to their son. They haven’t seen him for over a year.
“We were just gutted,” Ms. Hardy said The telegraph. “We thought we had covered ourselves – we paid for the PCR tests, downloaded the NHS app and printed the letter – but we fell at the last hurdle. I feel like we are in limbo.
“We haven’t seen our son since he moved there a year ago. We had our flights reimbursed by Tui, but that’s about. Our great fear is not knowing when we can go to Malta.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government would take up the issue with Maltese authorities, saying BBC breakfast: “This is not good and it should not happen.
“The drug agency, MHRA, has been very clear that it doesn’t matter whether the AstraZeneca you own is made here or the Serum Institute in India, it’s absolutely the same product, it offers exactly the same. virus protection levels.
“So we will certainly speak to our Maltese colleagues to underline all of this. Obviously, it’s up to them to decide what to do.
He then confirmed: ‘The Maltese authorities have changed their travel advice so that anyone with an Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK (regardless of where it is manufactured) can travel without being refused – all vaccines having been tested. rigorous safety and quality. checks.
Updated Maltese guidelines say the country will accept the NHS Covid pass as long as it displays the Vaxzevria, Comirnaty (Pfizer / BioNTech), Spikevax (Moderna) or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine.
He adds: “There is no specific warning regarding lot 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 stated that all doses received from the Serum Institute of India are Vaxzevria, not Covishield.
And in a written statement to Welshman Senedd, Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “To be clear, no Covishield vaccine has been given in the UK.
“All AstraZeneca vaccines administered in the UK appear on the NHS Covid Pass as Vaxzevria. The EMA has cleared this vaccine and we are confident that travel will not be affected. “