Australian travelers hoping to visit European destinations this summer may face potential restrictions because a vaccine made in Australia still needs approval from the European Union and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Although the Australian-made COVID-19 vaccine is exactly the same as the one made in the Netherlands, Belgium or the UK, technically the vaccine has not yet been licensed since the Melbourne Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL) facility has not been registered in The European Union’s drug regulator, TheSchengen.com reports.
In contrast, all facilities that manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine in the United States, South Korea and China are registered with the Drug Regulatory Authority, which means that it is widely recognized.
In this regard, an AstraZeneca spokesperson confirmed that all doses of the AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine meet the same strict quality standards regardless of where they are made as each batch of vaccines passes 60 quality tests.
However, despite the fact that the majority of Australian citizens are banned from leaving the country, they can still use negative COVID-19 test results to travel to EU member states to avoid potential restrictions.
Australia is currently part of the EU’s list of epidemiologically safe third countries against which the EU Commission has proposed a gradual lifting of restrictions, meaning that all the country’s citizens can travel to EU member states provided they follow each country’s COVID-19 regulations.
Based on WHO figures, as of July 22, Australia had identified 3,2129 cases of coronavirus and recorded 915 deaths, while according to the Australian Department of Health, 10,654,563 doses of vaccine had been administered to date.
In line with European Medicines Agency (EMA) guidelines, so far, the EU Commission has authorized the use of only four different vaccines – Moderna, BioNTech/Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson – meaning that only people have been vaccinated with one of the vaccines. These vaccines produced by registered manufacturers can travel without restrictions within the European Union.
>> Traveling to Europe in the summer of 2021 in the midst of COVID-19
However, despite the commission’s announcement, the chief scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO), Somaya Swaminathan, said 15 European countries are already recognizing as valid evidence of immunity the AstraZeneca vaccine, also known as Covishield, which was manufactured from the Serum Institute of India.
For those planning to travel during COVID-19, a new tool developed by VisaGuide. World enables you to check if the destination you are planning to visit is accepted as valid proof of vaccination with which you have been immunized.
Previously, it was reported that Canadians vaccinated with the Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine may face entry restrictions when entering European countries.