Search icon


02nd Jul 2021

Millions given Indian-made AstraZeneca jab ‘may be excluded from EU vaccine passport’

Charlie Herbert

It will be up to individual countries whether they accept the Indian-made doses of the jab

Millions of Brits could be turned away at European Union border crossings because they have been given an AstraZeneca jab that is not recognised by the EU vaccine passport scheme.

Up to five million doses of the Indian-made AstraZeneca jab have been administered in the UK, along with many other countries.

However, the new EU Covid certificate scheme, which is designed to open up travel for those immunised against the virus, does not recognise batches of the vaccine that have been produced in India because they have not been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

This version of he vaccine is known as the Covishield version, and is made by the Serum Institute of India. It is chemically identical to the original AstraZeneca version.

The Daily Telegraph reports that as many as five million doses of the Covishield jab have been given out in the UK. These jabs are identifiable by their batch numbers which are on patients’ card or in the NHS app.

A number of other countries could be affected by this as the Indian-made jab accounts for the majority of AZ doses supplied to poorer nations as part of the Covax vaccine-sharing scheme.

However, EU member states can still accept non-EMA-approved vaccines if they chose to. On Thursday, seven European Union countries, including Germany and Spain, announced that they would approve the Covishield jab for arriving travellers.

On the same day, the EMA said that it had not received any application for authorisation of Covishield.