Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns about international travel with the Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine. This is an evolving situation and unfortunately, the Government are unable to produce any clarity.
Firstly it is important to state that there is nothing medically wrong with this batch of the vaccine. I firmly believe that vaccines are the most effective public health intervention against COVID-19, both to protect people against the virus and to enable restrictions to be lifted. Vaccines teach the body’s immune system to recognise and fight the infection they have been designed to protect against. Approval is only given if the UK regulator – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – is satisfied that the vaccine is both safe and effective.
The batch in question has been approved by the World Health Organisation, however, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are yet to approve it. The batch numbers for the Indian manufactured doses also known as Covishield are 4120Z001, 4120Z002 and 4120Z003. Currently, some countries have chosen not to accept individuals who were given these vaccines until they are approved by the EMA, despite being on the Governments Green List for travel.
This is yet another example of the Government’s mismanagement during the pandemic and highlights a clear lack of transparency. Previously the Department of Health reassured us that nobody taking these vaccinations would be negatively affected, however, recent events suggest otherwise.
I have written to Nadhim Zahawi MP the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment) to get clarification on this issue. See attached: