Europe travel may be a problem for Malaysians with AstraZeneca jabs

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Malaysians who received the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine may not be able to travel freely within Europe because the European Union only recognises vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

According to a report by CodeBlue, the approval for Covid-19 vaccines does not cover the AstraZeneca vaccine made by South Korea’s SK Bioscience or Thailand’s Siam Bioscience. Japan’s labs are also not on the EMA-approval list.

Both countries produce the AstraZeneca vaccines for Malaysia while Japan has just donated one million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to the country.

The EU also does not recognise the India-made Covishield vaccine, which uses an analogous production technology to Vaxzevria, which is authorised in the EU and was previously known as AstraZeneca.

The report says that while member states must issue the EU Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC) to travellers regardless of the vaccine they have received, movement restrictions within the bloc may still apply.

This may include Covid-19 tests or a 14-day quarantine.

According to the report, the EMA told CodeBlue that the only AstraZeneca vaccine to receive authorisation in the EU is Vaxzevria.

To date, the EMA has only approved AstraZeneca manufacturing sites in the EU, the United Kingdom, the United States and China.

Earlier today, euronews.travel reported that some five million UK residents who received the AstraZeneca vaccine may face travel restrictions in the EU as their doses came from the Serum Institute in India.

On the approval of the Sinovac and Sputnik V vaccines from China and Russia, the EMA said both vaccines were under review.

The EMA added it was not responsible for any decision related to travel into and within the EU, including with the EUDCC, and that this was up to the European Commission and individual member states.

The use of the EUDCC went into force in EU member nations yesterday. When scanned at airports and borders, the certificate verifies the traveller’s vaccination status and allows them to enter the country. – FMT