Covishield COVID-19 vaccine is not approved by the European Medicines Agency and therefore, not accepted in the European Union vaccine passport scheme.
A British couple, Steve and Glenda Hardy, were stopped from boarding a flight to Malta on Friday and were turned away from the airport in UK because they had unknowingly received Covishield, the Indian version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not approved by the EU medical body.
Steve Hardy, 64, and Glenda Hardy, 63, are from Hull and had booked a flight to Malta to visit their son, who they haven’t seen for a year. But they had to turn back from the Manchester airport in the middle of the night, around 3.30 am, according to reports.
They had received the Covishield vaccine in March. Millions received the Covid shot produced by the Serum Institute of India without being told, according to The Telegraph.
The vaccine is not approved by the European Medicines Agency and therefore, not accepted in the EU vaccine passport scheme.
“We were just gutted,” Glenda Hardy was quoted as saying by The Telegraph, while explaining that they had followed every procedure.
Her husband complained that they had no idea what vaccine they were given.
“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,” Mr Hardy told the UK newspaper.
“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?”
Some countries last month said they would accept Covishield but Malta, a popular holiday destination, was not among them. Malta is on UK’s green list for travel, which means those arriving from the country don’t have to quarantine.
UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, was quoted as saying that Britons who had received doses of Covishield should not be prevented from travelling.
“It is not right and it shouldn’t be happening… 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,” Mr Shapps said on BBC, according to Daily Mail.