Grant Shapps to dress down Malta for barring Brits double jabbed with AZ vaccine from India
GRANT SHAPPS is set to give Malta a dressing down after they barred Brits double-jabbed with the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India.
The Transport Secretary said the Government would stress “in the strongest possible terms” that doses made from the Serum Institute WERE effective.The Transport Secretary said the Government would stress “in the strongest possible terms”[/caption] Five million Brits have received the Covishield version of the AZ vaccine[/caption]
Heartbroken couple Steve and Glenda Hardy, 64 and 63, weren’t allowed on an outbound flight at Manchester Airport last Friday to see their son.
Mr Shapps this morning vowed to raise the issue with the Maltese authorities, who do not accept the Indian-made jab.
He told BBC Breakfast: “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.”
The couple, from Hull, were jabbed with the Indian-manufactured vaccine in March – but staff from travel operator Tui stopped them while boarding, the Telegraph reports.
Mrs Hardy said: “We were just gutted.
“We thought we’d covered ourselves – we paid for PCR tests, downloaded the NHS app and printed off the letter – but we fell at the final hurdle. I feel like we’re in limbo.
“We haven’t seen our son since he moved there a year ago. We had our flights refunded by Tui, but that’s by-the-by.
“Our big fear is that we just don’t know when we’ll be able to go to Malta.”
The Indian-made AZ vaccines are identifiable by numbers – 4120Z001, 4120Z002, 4120Z003 – on recipients’ cards after they’re jabbed.
The Hardys’ Covid vaccine numbers were checked by Tui and they couldn’t board the flight as Maltese authorities didn’t recognise the jab.
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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?”
It comes as five million Brits faced possibly being blocked from holidays on the continent because the doses aren’t recognised by the EU.
Earlier this month, the Prime Minister said there was no reason Brits should be banned from Europe because they’ve been jabbed with AstraZeneca doses made in India.
Boris Johnson said that there were no Indian vaccines issued in this country. That’s obviously a lie because it’s on our pageSteve Hardy
The shots aren’t yet authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which regulates vaccinations in the bloc.
It means the EU’s new vaccine passport scheme doesn’t recognise the version of the AZ jab, which is known as Covishield.
Some EU states, plus Iceland and Switzerland, said they would accept the jabs produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Greece and Spain are among the countries that will welcome those who’ve had the jabs.
But Malta – one of the few countries on the UK’s green travel list – will not, the Telegraph reports.
Mrs Hardy said: “What’s being done about this? I think this is all going to get swept under the rug… and travel is going to open up to everyone but not to us.”
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A Tui spokesman said Maltese authorities contacted them about the change of entry requirements and said “customers with bookings were contacted as soon as we became aware”.
The EU’s Digital Covid Certificate launched this month and will allow Europeans to travel freely across the continent without quarantine or rigorous testing on arrival.
Anyone in the bloc who has been double jabbed will be able to cross borders simply by presenting digital proof they have been inoculated.Spain is one of the countries that has said it will accept the jabs[/caption] Millions of Brits have received a version of the AstraZeneca jab which is not authorised by the European Medicines Agency (Stock image)[/caption]
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