Corby Novavax vaccine trial volunteers' concerns raised with health secretary
MP for Corby and East Northants Tom Pursglove has raised the issue with the health secretary
The plight of volunteers of a vaccine trial that was held in Corby and recruited unpaid volunteers from the town has been raised at the highest level of government.
More than 600 people had been recruited to trial the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine, carried out by GPs at Lakeside Healthcare in Cottingham Road.
Starting in October 2020, half were given a placebo and half the real vaccine - NVX-CoV2373 - in two doses.
But despite volunteering to be jabbed against the deadly coronavirus months before the rest of the population, volunteers have been left without a 'Covid passport' since the Novavax vaccine has yet to be authorised by regulatory agencies worldwide.
In a letter to Sajid Javid, Tom Pursglove, MP for Corby and East Northants, asked for a 'speedy remedy' for the 'wholly unsatisfactory' situation regarding the 'ongoing concerns' relating to those who took part in the trial.
He said: "As you know, I have raised a number of individual cases and concerns with you in relation to this matter, but I continue to be personally concerned about the lack of clarity for this cohort as a whole, who did the right thing - coming forward and agreeing to take part in the clinical trial at a crucial time - but who now find themselves in a real limbo, with no certainty around when it will end."
Mr Pursglove's intervention comes after Corby volunteers became aware that the Novavax vaccine did not give them the necessary 'green ticks' on their Covid passport app.
Corby resident Elspeth Robb had volunteered for the trial and had been unable to travel despite being double-vaccinated due to her vaccine not being recognised by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency).
Mr Pursglove has urged Mr Javid to help the volunteers.
He added: "I therefore wanted to relay the significant concern that those in this cohort in my constituency feel about this and make you aware of my strong conviction that appropriate arrangements should be made urgently to address the difficulties that this group of willing volunteers are now experiencing.
"Presently, they feel penalised for having come forward and I am sure you share my view that the current situation is wholly unsatisfactory and requires speedy remedy."
In a statement to this paper, a Novavax spokesman had promised that those travelling abroad would receive compensation for the cost of two PCR tests.
A spokesman had said: "For travel, different countries and institutions may have their own requirements with respect to Covid-19 vaccination and testing status and international travel.
"Novavax is now able to reimburse trial participants for two Covid PCR tests to help comply with travel requirements in some countries."
But the company was unable to say how trial volunteers were able to access the funds adding: "Details on reimbursement for PCR testing are being rolled out, so it’s possible not everyone has been informed yet."
Dr Amardeep Heer, GP Partner and Director of Research and Innovation at Lakeside Healthcare, has been contacted for a comment.