There are fears in the UK that millions of vaccinated Brits could be shut out of European holidays because the Astra Zeneca jab they got is not being recognised by the EU’s new Digital COVID Certificate scheme.
The Covishield version of the Astra Zeneca jab produced by the Serum Institute of India is not on the list of vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, whereas the UK-produced Vaxzevria version is.
Up to five million Britons have been given the Covishield version, which is recognisable by the batch numbers (4120Z001, 4120Z002, 4120Z003) on the recipients’ vaccine cards as well as on the NHS app.
The Covishield version is chemically identical to the Vaxzevria version.
A Bureaucratic Glitch?
However, the whole issue could simply be a case of delayed bureaucracy. As of Thursday, 1 July, the EMA said it had not received any application for authorisation of the Covishield vaccine.
In the meantime, Germany, Spain and seven other EU countries have said they would accept the Covishield version.
The COVAX Programme
The Covishield version of Astra Zeneca has been approved by the WHO, which has distributed it as part of the COVAX initiative to some 133 mostly low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The WHO has so far administered over 2.5 billion doses of COVID vaccines worldwide, of which 89 million doses are Covishield.