About five million Britons who have been vaccinated with doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India could be prevented from entering the European Union (EU) because those doses have not been approved by European regulators.
The European Union has launched the digital certificate for covid-19, designed to facilitate travel across the continent, but it does not recognize the release of the AstraZeneca vaccine called Covishield, produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII) because it did not receive approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
According to the newspaper, millions of Britons have received the Indian version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was approved in the UK in February and can be identified by the batch numbers (4120Z001, 4120Z002, 4120Z003), which appear on the cards citizens received when they were vaccinated, or in The guide provided by the Public Health Service, electronically or on paper, for travel.
The EMA has so far approved Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, but not Covishield because the SII will not apply for a license to sell the product in Europe.
The UK and EU are still in negotiations to coordinate the work of their respective vaccination certificates, with each country able to make an individual decision on control measures at its borders.
According to The Times, the British government intends to increase the need to isolate fully vaccinated Britons traveling to medium-risk countries, as all EU countries are currently classified.
The African Union has also criticized the exclusion of Kovishield from the EU’s digital certification because many African countries have used this version of the AstraZeneca vaccine provided by the Kovacs platform, operated by the World Health Organization, to benefit low-income countries.
“These developments are worrisome given that the KofiShield vaccine has been the backbone of EU-supported Kovacs contributions to the immunization programs of African Union member states,” the AU Special Envoy for Vaccine Procurement criticized Masiyiwa, regarding its impact on the circulation of Africans.