AstraZeneca vaccine: Dr Green shares what's in Oxford jab
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Certain makes of the AstraZeneca vaccine are not recognised by some countries, meaning travellers who are required to be fully vaccinated can not travel to countries that have such travel rules in place. This is because some batches are yet to be approved by the European Medicines Agency, despite being chemically identical to batches of the vaccine made elsewhere in the word.
Steve and Glenda Hardy, 64 and 63, were turned back at Manchester Airport at 3.30am on Friday when they tried to board a flight to Malta.
The couple were denied their place on the flight due to being recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine – specifically doses that were manufactured in India.
The vaccine batch numbers on their NHS apps were checked by TUI and the couple were told they could not board the flight as Maltese authorities did not recognise the jab.
The ‘ban; meant the couple were unable to see their son, who lives in the Mediterranean country, having not being able to visit him for more than a year.
It is thought up to five million Brits are the recipient of the maligned doses.
A crestfallen Mr Hardy said: “When we took our vaccine we had a vaccine, we were asked to take them, we took both doses.
“We didn’t know what we were getting. We trusted the Government on that.
“Boris Johnson said that there were no Indian vaccines issued in this country. That’s obviously a lie because it’s on our page.
“The problem is the fact that we can’t see our son. We jumped through the hoops… and then we were hit with this.
“It was just devastating… what the hell are we supposed to do?”
The Department of Health and Social Care had previously insisted that no Britons who had received the Indian-made jabs would be negatively impacted.
A spokesman said earlier this month: “All AstraZeneca vaccines given in the UK are the same product and appear on the NHS Covid Pass as Vaxzevria.
“The European Medicines Agency has authorised this vaccine and we’re confident travel will not be affected.”
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How do I know if I have had this batch? How can I check?
The batch numbers for the Indian manufactured doses, produced by the Serum Institute of India and known as Covishield, appear on the Covid Travel Pass in the NHS App.
They are: 4120Z001, 4120Z002 and 4120Z003.
Recipients of at least one dose of these batches could be barred from entering certain countries in Europe.
Transport secretary Grant Schapps has vowed to investigate the matter.
He said: It is not right and it shouldn’t be happening.
“The medicines agency, the MHRA, have been very clear that it doesn’t matter whether the AstraZeneca you have is made here or the Serum Institute in India.
“It is absolutely the same product, it provides exactly the same levels of protection from the virus.
“So we will certainly speak to our Maltese colleagues to point all this out.
“Obviously it is up to them what they do. But we will be making the scientific point in the strongest possible terms there is no difference, we don’t recognise any difference.”
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