British couple barred from flying to Malta after getting Indian-made version of Astrazeneca vaccination

British couple barred from flying to Malta after getting Indian-made version of Astrazeneca vaccination

This incident took place after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured that there would be no hiccups for Britons travelling around the EU.

A British couple was reportedly turned away from travelling to Malta to see their son. According to a Daily Mail report, they were unknowingly given an Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, also known as Covishield.

The couple, Steve and Glenda Hardy, had received the jabs in March. They were on their way to Malta to visit their son, who they have not met for over a year, when they were stopped by staff working for travel operator TUI at Manchester Airport.

The European Medicines Agency does not yet recognise the vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India despite claims that it is as effective as other AstraZeneca doses which are made elsewhere.

Due to this, the retired couple from Hull, England were not allowed to board their flight.

EU's Digital Covid Certificate allows those who are fully vaccinated to move freely throughout Europe without having to quarantine. While some European countries have unilaterally pledged to accept Covishield jabs, Malta is not on the list.

This incident took place after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured that there would be no hiccups for Britons travelling around the EU.

He told Sky News, 'I see no reason at all why the MHRA-approved vaccines should not be recognised as part of the vaccine passports. I am very confident that will not prove to be a problem.'

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also said Britons who received doses of the jab made in India should not be prevented from travelling. In conversation with BBC Breakfast, he said that the Government will deal with the issue with authorities in Malta.

He added, "It is not right and it shouldn't be happening. The medicines agency, the MHRA, have been very clear 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."

Talking about the unfortunate incident, Mr Hardy said, "We haven't seen our son for a year. My son and wife were both absolutely in pieces. I drove home and I still don't know how I managed. A TUI rep checked our certificates and we were told we couldn't travel because Malta weren't accepting the vaccine we had been given."

"That was the first we had heard of it. We had done everything possible - we had paid for the PCR tests, we had downloaded the NHS app and printed off the letter - and we had been talking to TUI every day leading up to our flight. It came as a surprise because we had been told weeks ago that none of the Indian-made vaccines were being issued here and then Boris Johnson said it would not be a problem," he added.

He also said, "People are going everywhere but we are not allowed to see our son in Malta because they are not accepting it. We didn't even know we had been given it. We just did what we were told - we went and got vaccinated. It needs bringing to the attention of someone who can do something about it. Our MP says she is speaking with the vaccines minister."

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