THE Government has been urged to "take action" following issues facing hundreds of North East Novavax volunteers.

Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham has said ministers should set out what they are planning to do in order to ensure no one is left further "disadvantaged."

It comes as The Northern Echo last week revealed around 15,000 volunteers across the UK had been left in limbo following delays to approval of the Teesside-made jab.

Those who took part in trials up and down the country have raised concerns over their level of protection ahead of winter, and travel abroad, as they cannot currently obtain an alternative vaccine on the NHS.

Read more: Mum's fear that she could give Covid to vulnerable daughter after taking part in vaccine trial

In the North East, several volunteers have contacted The Echo over growing uncertainty on when, or if, they will be able to have an approved UK vaccine.

The Northern Echo:

But urging for clarity last night, Mr Cunningham said: “People came forward to support the development of life-saving vaccines and are now being let down by delays and uncertainty.

"It’s simply not enough for the Government to say it will “take action”.

"Ministers need to urgently set out exactly what they are planning to do to make sure no one taking part in vaccine trials is put at a disadvantage as a result.

Read more: Man is 'wrongly' given trial Covid vaccine at North East hospital after confusion

"People have a right to know they are protected and the Government needs to provide that clarity now.”

Last week, hundreds of Novavax volunteers signed a joint letter to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid urging the Government to take action and allow participants have an alternative jab.

A petition was also launched on calling upon Mr Javid for his help, stating that they had been left "significantly disadvantaged."

Responding to concerns previously, a Government spokesperson said that it is "committed" to taking action on this issue and said that it is reviewing guidance on additional vaccination for participants, but did not provide any timeframes for when this would happen.

The Northern Echo:

They said: “Clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccinations have played an instrumental role in getting us to the point where we have safe, approved vaccines and they are providing critical data to help us respond to this pandemic.

“We are clear that volunteers in formally approved Covid-19 vaccine trials in the UK should not be disadvantaged in relation to vaccine certification policies, and we are committed to taking action on this issue, including reviewing guidance on additional vaccination for this group.”

A spokesperson for Novavax said that it is "doing everything" it could to advocate for clinical trial participants and had sought urgent guidance from the NHS and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which they are "actively considering."

A spokesperson last week said: “Novavax is in active conversations with various regulatory agencies, including MHRA, EMA, WHO, FDA and others, and is working on the completion of our rolling submissions.

“Novavax is in alignment with these regulatory authorities on the final requirements to complete these submissions. As a result, there is additional work under way and we now expect that these final filings, including to MHRA, will occur in close proximity to each other in the next couple of months.

“Regarding boosters, we have sought urgent guidance from NHS/Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which they are actively considering, and will be sure to share updates as we have them.

“Clinical trial participants made a vital contribution during an unprecedented global pandemic.

"In addition to working day and night to complete the submission process, Novavax is doing all we can to advocate on their behalf to support proof of vaccination outside of the UK.”


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