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Over 270K Canadians May Be Ineligible For EU Travel Due To Their COVID-19 Vaccine

The Covishield COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been approved for use in the EU.👇

Canadians dreaming of taking a trip to Europe this summer may face extra hurdles if they've received at least one dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine produced by Verity Pharmaceuticals and the Serum Institute of India (SII), which is known as Covishield.

The vaccine is not currently eligible for the EU's Digital COVID Certificate (a proof of vaccination program) which launched on July 1.

The vaccines that are eligible for the EU travel pass are those that have been given a positive assessment by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The EMA has given the green light for almost all of the same COVID-19 vaccines as Canada, including Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

However, while Canada also approved the version of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the SII, the EU didn't.

What is Covishield?

Covishield is the SII-manufactured version of AstraZeneca's British-made Vaxzevria vaccine, which has been authorized for use in the EU.

The vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India has been approved in Canada, but not in the European Union.

On its website, Health Canada says it has "reviewed the manufacturing information for these vaccines and found them to be comparable."

What does this mean for Canadians who got Covishield?

If and when Europe's travel pass is extended to international travellers, Canadians who received at least one dose of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine may find it harder to travel to some countries because the existing passport plan doesn't recognize Covishield.

According to the federal government's latest data, 272,042 Canadians have received at least one dose of the Covishield vaccine.

So, what happens next?

BBC News reports that the Serum Institute of India is now seeking emergency authorization in the EU for the Covishield vaccine.

The CEO and owner of the SII tweeted on Monday, "I assure everyone, I have taken this up at the highest levels and hope to resolve this matter soon, both with regulators and at a diplomatic level with countries."

For now, the Government of Canada continues to advise against all non-essential travel, even for fully vaccinated Canadians.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccines and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.

The City announced that Toronto Public Health (TPH) is getting ready to vaccinate children between five and 11 years old and created a COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Group.

That being said, they are still waiting upon the approval from Health Canada as well as the receipt of vaccination for these kids from Ontario's Ministry of Health. According to the City, there are about 200,000 kids between ages 5 to 11 who are eligible to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

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Dr. Theresa Tam also had advice for Canadians looking to travel internationally.

Canada is trying to get the U.S. and other countries around the world to recognize people who have received mixed vaccine doses as fully vaccinated so they can travel.

Speaking at a press conference about COVID-19 on September 24, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam revealed that Canada has been engaging with the U.S. and other countries that are top destinations for Canadians and presenting the country's data about the effectiveness of mixed doses.

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Children who are 12 years old and older are currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Ontario, so students in grades six and up would need to show proof of vaccination in order to attend classes if the province were to follow through on de Villa's recommendation.

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Severe illness or even death is "an absolutely likely outcome."

Alberta's top doctor has a warning for residents as the province continues to struggle with rising cases of COVID-19.

On Thursday, September 23, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw spoke at a press conference and addressed unconfirmed reports that a group of people gathered in a "deliberate attempt to acquire COVID-19 in order to develop post-infection immunity."

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