Ministers are being urged to help thousands of people who took part in coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine trials who cannot prove their vaccination status.
Volunteers “in limbo”
Trial participants have described being “trapped” and “in limbo” because they are unable to get a licensed coronavirus vaccine or travel abroad. Around 15,000 Britons took part in the Novavax coronavirus vaccine clinical trial. The vaccine is yet to be approved for use in the UK.
People who took part have said that despite being vaccinated, and volunteering to enhance medical science early on in the pandemic, they are unable to enjoy the same freedoms as the general population.
A petition has been launched on change.org calling for help from health secretary Sajid Javid.
The petition, launched by the Novavax UK Concerned Participants Group, states that UK volunteers are “significantly disadvantaged” because they face barriers to travel and are unable to get another coronavirus vaccine.
The petition states:
We call on the ministers to rectify the situation immediately so that Novavax volunteers can travel as freely as other vaccinated people
Retiree Gill Ince, who participated in the trial in September 2020, said she felt like she was “living in limbo”.
The 61-year-old, from Oxfordshire, said:
I stepped forward early in the pandemic to participate in a vaccine trial. I wanted to do my bit to fight Covid but I feel utterly betrayed by the system and I’m trapped without any vaccination status.
I was given reassurances that I would not be disadvantaged in anyway at a later date. We have no idea if, where or when Novavax will be approved so now we are living in limbo.
It’s incredibly stressful and I feel like a prisoner. It feels like the most awful situation I’ve ever been put in in my life, because I can’t do anything.
The Observer reported on 19 September that England’s deputy chief medical officer professor Jonathan Van-Tam suggested to the government that the UK withhold clinical trial data if vaccine trial participants were not being allowed into European countries.
A government spokesperson said:
Covid-19 vaccine trials have been absolutely critical to developing safe and effective vaccines which have prevented 230,800 hospitalisations and 112,300 deaths – and that is thanks to the volunteers who made those trials possible.
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.
Any decision for a participant in a vaccine trial to receive an alternative vaccination should be made in conjunction with the clinicians who lead the trial.
Featured image via – Flickr – Navy Medicine
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?