THOSE who have received both jabs of Novavax in a North East trial say they have been left in limbo after being told they might not be able to have another vaccine.

Participants have been left concerned after it emerged guidance is yet to be published on whether it is safe to have the AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna jab after taking part.

One person, who is involved in a trial at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said they now fear being left unprotected and unable to travel abroad indefinitely.

It comes around 15,000 people – including hundreds at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS trust – have been taking part in Novavax trials for the past year.

The Northern Echo: The vaccine will be made at Billingham Picture: NORTHERN ECHOThe vaccine will be made at Billingham Picture: NORTHERN ECHO

It also comes as The Northern Echo last night revealed that the vaccine is facing significant delays and may not be ready until next year, at the very earliest.

Read more: North East made Covid vaccine is facing delays - and may not be ready until 'NEXT YEAR'

Speaking to The Echo, one participant of the clinical trial at the Teesside trust said they had concerns over their continued level of protection and ability to travel abroad.

The person, who asked to remain anonymous, said their proof of vaccination was recognised by the UK, but not in other countries as it had not yet been approved.

They said: "We are classed as unvaccinated because Novavax isn’t approved in Europe yet.

"It shows up on the NHS app, the UK government says 'yes you have been involved in a trial,' so we don’t see why you shouldn’t be treated as everybody else is.

"That’s fine within the UK, but the problem is every other country is saying no.

"It's absolutely frustrating when we were told it's going to be a couple more weeks, 'we are expecting it to be done by the end of September,' months ago."

Saying that they, and other participants had now felt "abandoned" by the further delay to the Novavax vaccine, they said that they had been left extremely concerned over a lack of guidance post-trial.

They said: "What makes it worse is that they can't say 'yes you can have the Pfizer or AstraZeneca' - there's just no urgency."

They said that they believed their level of protection could wear off before a decision on alternative jabs is made or the Novavax is approved.

In an email to participants sent by the Novavax Study Team at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, it said that the next steps for those involved in the trial are currently being considered although no timeframes were issued.

The Northern Echo:

Apologising for “difficulties and frustrations,” the email said Novavax is unable to provide guidance to those on having two doses of an alternative or booster after previously having two doses of the Novavax vaccine.

It said this is because there is currently no data on this "vaccination schedule" and that Novavax is unable to comment on the safety of such a schedule.

It went on to say: “Guidance on this must come from the NHS / Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and they are actively considering this.”

On social media, several other participants from across the region and wider UK appeared to share the same concerns with many saying they had been left waiting for answers.

One appeared to echo concerns and said they had been potentially left unprotected from Covid as the winter begins and cases are expected to rise.

Meanwhile a letter to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid calling for "fair treatment" of those left in limbo following further delays to the Novavax jab surfaced last night.

The letter, which has been signed by hundreds of volunteers from across the UK, urged the Health Secretary to instruct NHS vaccine clinics to allow the administration of Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna jabs to participants upon their request. 

It also urges the Health Secretary to amend NHS software to allow multiple vaccinations be recorded with the approved vaccine showing in the app in order to allow international travel freely.

In response to the concerns, Novavax said that it had sought urgent guidance from the NHS and Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

A spokesperson told The Echo: "At this time, Novavax cannot provide guidance on the safety of receiving either two doses or a single booster of an approved vaccine after having previously received two doses of the Novavax vaccine.

"This is because data to support such advice does not exist. We have sought urgent guidance from NHS/JCVI, which they are actively considering. 

"Novavax is grateful to our clinical trial participants for helping to ensure a safer future for all, and we continue to advocate for them at the highest levels."

Novavax previously admitted it was facing delays ahead of asking for UK approval and that it was working "as quickly as possible" to complete submissions for regulators. 

The Department of Health was approached for comment but did not respond in time for publication.

The MHRA declined to comment.


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