- Two doses of mRNA vaccines will be given over a standard eight-week period
- More than 20,000 British test takers were barred from leaving the country
- Most of the test takers participated in the Novavax (15,000) and Valneva (4,000) Jubso studies
Britons participating in COVID vaccine trials for jabs not recognized internationally will be offered doses of Pfizer or Moderna so they can eventually travel.
The UK government announced today that more than 20,000 participants in the Novavax and Wallneva study will begin to be invited for jobs starting next week.
They will be given two doses of mRNA vaccines over a standard eight-week period, which should allow them to travel in time for Christmas.
Health officials had originally pushed for test takers to be able to go abroad without needing to be vaccinated ‘because of the sacrifices they made’.
But the plans have faced resistance by EU countries, which refused to recognize Novavax and Wallneva, both still awaiting approval from regulators.
There is no specific safety data on giving people four doses of the Kovid vaccine, but officials are confident it is safe based on booster trials, which looked at three doses.
Nearly 15,000 Novavax and 4,000 ValNeva testers have been unable to fly to Europe, the US or elsewhere for vacation or business, despite global travel resuming months ago.
The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will be offered to Britons who participated in COVID jab trials for shots that are not recognized internationally so that they can eventually travel (File)
Trialists will have to go with four vaccine doses or wait to see if their original jabs get approval from the UK medicines watchdog.
Those waiting will be recognized for a domestic vaccine passport if that policy is introduced in England as part of the government’s winter COVID contingency plan.
Millions of people who are eligible for the COVID Booster Vaccine have not yet received their third dose
Official figures show that millions of people who are eligible for the COVID booster vaccine have not yet received their third dose.
5 million people in England currently qualify for a booster jab, but only a third have come forward for one.
It comes after a top government scientific adviser said he wants Britain to be ‘more aggressive’ with a rollout to limit the damage of winter wave cases.
A total of 1.7 million people in England have received boosters since the program was signed last month.
Invitations are being sent only to those who took the second dose at least six months ago, as they are the ‘sweet spot’ for immunity.
For this reason, the rollout was always expected to be slow compared to the initial jab blitz, which was at its peak, in which 800,000 people were vaccinated per day.
But official figures show that 4.9 million people completed their two-dose vaccination program six months ago, with most of the criteria now qualifying them for a top-up.
About 400,000 people who had been vaccinated half a year earlier were immunized and were receiving their third dose at a slightly different time. And many people who were previously vaccinated were elderly in origin and may have passed away in the past six months.
But even when these are exempted, it still leaves millions of deserving and vulnerable people with subpar immunity.
England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said: ‘The measures we have taken will allow UK COVID vaccine trial participants to travel abroad freely after having additional vaccinations.
‘Those volunteers now have the flexibility to make decisions for themselves so that they can, for example, visit loved ones abroad.
‘We must be very clear that the results of these trials benefit the whole world, and have to say that if more countries around the world allowed UK volunteers to travel abroad to enjoy fully immunized status Had these measures not been there, it would have become necessary.
The move comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s appeal to global health leaders at the G20 meeting last month to recognize their vaccination status for testers globally.
Letters will be sent to clinical trial participants next week, outlining further details and next steps.
Participants will be contacted by the testing team, who can answer any questions they may have, and should not contact their local NHS or GP.
Vaccinations will most likely take place in hospital centers.
Professor Paul Heath, Principal Investigator of the Novavax Clinical Trial, said: ‘I greatly welcome this development on behalf of the more than 15,000 participants in the Novavax trial and our colleagues at 35 trial sites across the UK.
“For too long, participants have been at a disadvantage in terms of international travel because this vaccine is not yet approved for deployment.”
‘But trial participants now have the flexibility to receive a booster dose, or additional doses for travel purposes, if they wish.’
Novavax’s Phase III clinical trial data released earlier this year showed its vaccine had a 90.4 percent overall efficacy in preventing serious disease.
The firm has delayed the submission of trial data to the UK medical regulator, with reports consistently suggesting issues with reconciling manufacturing information.
Novavax still plans to submit the complete data to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the UK last month canceled its deal with French vaccine maker Valneva for 100 million doses.
The UK government cited breaches of the contact agreement, a charge the drugmaker denied, but it is still unclear why the deal fell through.
The results of its Phase III trials are due later this year.
There are currently around 52,000 people participating in trials across the UK for other experimental vaccines.
They will not qualify for the standard two-dose Pfizer or Moderna schedules until they study…