Senior government scientists from Canada, Europe, and the UK have asked for vaccination certificates for volunteers participating in Covid jab trials. This will allow them to travel internationally.
Although the UK is leading the charge in granting vaccine certificates for trial participants, many other countries have not followed suit and refuse to admit anyone unless they have received two doses Covid vaccine which has been approved by regulators and has gone through trials.
This means that many thousands of people around the world who have enrolled in clinical trials for Covid vaccines or combinations of shots cannot travel to other countries unless they receive an additional round approved jab.
14 top advisers from the UK, including Prof Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance (UK chief scientist), warn that prohibiting trial volunteers from traveling is unfair. This has led to some participants dropping out of trials and seeking additional vaccinations.
Clinical trials are where the world learns about vaccine safety and effectiveness from volunteers who have participated in vaccine clinical trials. It is morally and ethically right to treat volunteers fairly, as well as the public. It is right.
More than 15,000 people were affected by the Novavax phase 3 trial in hospitals around the UK. The trial data have not been submitted to regulators yet for approval.
Kris Gumbrell is the chief executive officer at a pub chain. He participated in the Novavax trials and received four shots, two vaccines and two placebos, between October 2020 - April 2021. Although he has a vaccination certificate, he is not allowed to travel to countries that require vaccines. The NHS app does not consider him to be vaccinated, so he cannot book any additional shots that he wants in January so he can travel with the family.
Your Novavax vaccination didn't count and you hit a brick wall. This is your fate. Gumbrell stated that you can't travel to any place that doesn't require an approved vaccine. There are many people who are upset. With vaccine trials, the UK has done a lot of heavy lifting. Our cause should be supported more by politicians.
The UK government announced last week it would give two shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to thousands of Britons who participated in the trials. This would allow them to travel abroad and would also provide four shots of Covid vaccine.
The letter calls on foreign governments to issue passports or vaccine certificates to all volunteers participating in vaccine trials that have been approved and certified by regulators. This applies regardless of whether they have received unlicensed vaccines or combinations of shots or placebo jabs.
The letter states that, given the global number of trial participants, the population contribution to national disease epidemiology will not be significant if a few placebo recipients are admitted in trials.
Trials will be necessary to improve vaccine coverage and design, particularly as the virus evolves and mutates. It adds that anything that discourages people from participating in trials will harm public health.
Prof Saul Faust (Wessex regional leader for Covid vaccine trials at Southampton University) said that the letter was an extremely important intervention by Chris Whitty, his colleagues, and others.
There are over 50,000 vaccine trial participants in the UK, but thousands more around the world. They have been treated as heroes by politicians worldwide and instead of being treated as second-class citizens. Faust stated that without them, there would be no vaccines. Although the UK had accepted UK accreditation prior to the summer, none of our UK participants were able to travel abroad or be accredited by the UK. This is because no other country has agreed to this principle.
This is something that governments must do to ensure no one ever takes part in future trials. Booster trials as well as any future vaccines against pandemics are at risk if they don't.