Aussie travellers hoping to visit European destinations this summer may face potential restrictions since the vaccine manufactured in Australia still needs to be approved by the European Union and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Even though the Aussie-made COVID-19 vaccine is entirely the same as the ones being manufactured in the Netherlands, Belgium, or the UK, technically speaking, the vaccine has not been authorised yet since the Melbourne facility of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL) hasn’t registered with the EU drug regulator, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
In contrast, facilities manufacturing the AstraZeneca vaccine in the United States, South Korea, and China have all been registered to the drug regulator, meaning they are widely recognised.
In regards to this, a spokesperson from AstraZeneca emphasised that all AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine doses meet the same strict quality standards regardless of the place where they are made as each vaccine batch goes over 60 quality tests.
Nonetheless, despite the fact that the majority of Australian citizens are banned from leaving the country, they still can use negative COVID-19 test results to travel to the EU Member States to avoid possible restrictions.
Australia is currently part of the EU’s list of epidemiologically safe third countries against which the EU Commission suggested gradually lifting the restrictions, meaning that all citizens of the country can travel to the EU Member States provided that they follow each country’s COVID-19 regulations.
Based on WHO figures, as of July 22, Australia has identified 32,129 Coronavirus infection cases and has registered 915 deaths, whereas, according to the Department of Health of Australia, 10,654,563 vaccine doses have been administered until today.
In line with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) guidelines, up to date, the EU Commission has only authorised for use of four different vaccines – Moderna, BioNTech/Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson – meaning that only persons vaccinated with one of these vaccines produced by registered manufacturers can travel restriction-free within the EU.
>> Travelling to Europe in Summer 2021 Amid COVID-19
However, in spite of the Commission’s announcement, the chief scientist at the World Health Organization, (WHO) Soumya Swaminathan, said that 15 European countries already recognise as a valid proof of immunity the AstraZeneca vaccine, also known as Covishield, which has been manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
For those planning to travel during the COVID-19, a new tool developed by VisaGuide.World enables you to check whether the destination you plan on visiting accepts as valid proof of vaccination the jab you have been immunised with.
Previously, it was reported that Canadians who have been vaccinated with the Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine might face entry restrictions when entering European countries.