Malta has confirmed it will now allow Britons to enter the country regardless of where their Oxford AstraZeneca jabs were produced. The U-turn came after Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps slammed the nation for denying travellers who had been vaccinated with jabs that had been made by the India-based Serum Institute.
In an update posted to Twitter, Mr Shapps has today confirmed Malta will accept Britons who have been administered with India-made doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
The transport secretary stated: “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.”
In line with this, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has updated its advice for vaccinated Britons.
It explains: “If you live in England, Malta will accept the NHS COVID Pass (both the Digital App and letter versions) as proof of your vaccination status.
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However, NHS appointment cards will not be accepted as evidence of vaccine status.
“Those arriving having had vaccinations not EMA approved will be required to quarantine for 14 days,” adds the FCDO.
Previously, Mr Shapps condemned the Maltese authorities after a UK couple were turned away from their TUI flight having been jabbed with an AstraZeneca vaccine developed by a manufacturer in India.
Mr and Mrs Hardy, from Hull, had been left “gutted” when the airline explained the vaccine was not recognised by Maltese authorities.
“We thought we’d covered ourselves – we paid for PCR tests, downloaded the NHS app and printed off the letter – but we fell at the final hurdle. I feel like we’re in limbo,” said Mrs Hardy at the time.
“We haven’t seen our son since he moved there a year ago. We had our flights refunded by TUI, but that’s by-the-by.
“Our big fear is that we just don’t know when we’ll be able to go to Malta.”
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Shapps said there was “no difference” between the India-manufactured vaccine and other AstraZeneca jabs made elsewhere.
The transport secretary said: “It is not right and it shouldn’t be happening.
“The medicines agency, the MHRA, have been very clear that it doesn’t matter whether the AstraZeneca you have is made here or the Serum Institute in India.
“It is absolutely the same product, it provides exactly the same levels of protection from the virus.
“So 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.”