Millions of British have been given AstraZeneca vaccine as this jab has been authorised in the UK in February. But this vaccine is not yet approved in Europe or recognised under EU’s new vaccine passport scheme. Hence some five million Britons face being locked out of European holidays because their vaccines are not recognised by the EU’s passport scheme.
The EU Digital Covid Certificate, which launched on Thursday, is designed to allow Covid-secure travel across the continent but does not recognise a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine called Covishield, produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), because it is yet to receive approval in Europe.
The hitch could leave thousands of Britons turned away at EU border crossings when the batch numbers on their vaccines are checked digitally.
The EU ruling has already sparked outrage in Asia and Africa, where the Indian manufactured shot – which forms the backbone of the Covax distribution scheme – has been widely used. Now, some British holidaymakers may find themselves similarly excluded.
Britons who are affected said: “Quite frankly [I feel] discriminated against, for lack of a better word,” said 21-year-old Hannah Smith, who found that her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine was produced in India when she checked the batch numbers. She added that, until the situation was clarified, she would jettison plans for a European holiday and “settle for Scotland”.
Others have started blaming the British Government: “That vaccine passports would be a thing is entirely predictable, so our government should have made sure any they purchased would be recognised for travel everywhere.”