Malta’s travel advice has been modified to allow UK residents to visit even if they have received AstraZeneca vaccinations made in India, according to transport secretary Grant Shapps.
Around five million UK nationals who received vaccines from India’s Serum Institute in three batches had already been told that they might be denied entry to a number of countries, including Malta.
Shapps, on the other hand, told the BBC on Wednesday morning that the decision had been made. “wasn’t right” and expressed his wish that “confusion” over the nature of the vaccines would be “cleared up”.
The transport secretary responded with a tweet that read: “The Maltese authorities have amended their travel advice so anyone who has an OXFORD AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK (regardless of manufacture location) is able to travel without being turned away – with all vaccines having gone through rigorous safety and quality checks.”
Shapps stated in an interview with BBC Breakfast on Wednesday morning: “People being barred from travel is not right and it shouldn’t be happening in our view. The medicines agency (MHRA) has been very clear that it doesn’t matter whether the AstraZeneca that you have is made here or in India.
“It’s exactly the same product and provides exactly the same certification and level of protection from the virus.
“We’ll certainly speak to our Maltese colleagues to point all this out. It’s up to them what they do but we will be making the scientific point in the strongest terms that there is no difference.”
He continued, saying, “I think there may be some confusion because the Serum Institute also manufactures the Covishield version which is not MHRA-approved.
“The Covishield version is not distributed in this country so no UK-vaccinated person has received that particular version and I think that may clear it up.”
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