Brits who got Indian-made jabs shouldn’t be banned from EU demands PM – as firm says problem to be fixed by end of month


BRITS shouldn’t be banned from Europe because they’ve been jabbed with AstraZeneca doses made in India, Boris Johnson declared today.

The PM said he sees “no reason at all” why people in the UK who received the Covishield version of the vaccine would be discriminated against.

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Boris Johnson said Brits who received Indian-made AZ jabs shouldn’t be banned from Europe

And after talks on reopening travel with Angela Merkel at Chequers, he declared: “I am confident that will not prove to be a problem.”

His remarks came as the boss of the factory where the shots were made said travel warnings over its jabs have been “blown out of proportion”.

Serum Institute chief Adar Poonawalla said he expects its vaccines to be green-lighted for use in Europe this month.

Almost five million Brits have been given AZ shots that were manufactured at the massive plant in India.

The factory has been approved to make the vaccine by our regulator, the MHRA, but not by the European Medicines Agency.

Brussels’ watchdog has only green-lighted AZ jabs manufactured in the EU and Britain for use on the continent.

That has created a loophole in the bloc’s travel rules, which only oblige Member States to accept EMA stamped vaccines.

Countries have the option to accept other shots and so far eight including Spain, Greece, and Germany have said they’ll do so.

The Netherlands, Slovenia, Austria, Ireland, and Estonia have also given the Indian-made vaccine the green light.

France doesn’t currently allow in people who have had the jab but the country’s health ministry indicated that rule could change.

The PM held talks with German leader Angela Merkel at Chequers

Five million Brits have received the Covishield version of the AZ vaccine

Mr Poonwalla said the Serum Institute applied for European authorisation a month ago and that it should soon be granted.

He said: “We are quite confident that in a month the EMA will approve Covishield.

“There is no reason why not to, because it is based on the AstraZeneca data.

“Our product is identical to AstraZeneca more or less and it has been approved by WHO, the UK MHRA.

“So it’s just a matter of time, it is not really going to hinder anything.”

Brussels also played down the prospect of individual EU countries choosing to reject Brits given the Indian-made jab.

The Commission said capitals had “flexibility” to accept the shot for travel and there was a “certain logic” for doing so.

A spokesman added: “I don’t think you can say it will not be possible to come to the EU with this vaccine.

“We are working with Member States for a coordinated approach as much as possible.”

It is unclear how any EU country would be able to check whether Brits received a jab made in India as opposed to Europe.

Doing so would require cross-referencing individual batch numbers, which could involve lengthy border processes.

An AstraZeneca spokesman said: “We are working closely with the EMA as they develop guidance to support opening of borders and relaxing restrictions.

“This includes guidance on inclusion of Covishield as a recognised vaccine for immunisation passports.”


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