Scottish vaccine volunteers are treated like “second class citizens” while waiting for Novavax vaccination approval, an MSP said as they continue a month-long battle to get their vaccines recognized in the NHS Scotland’s standard database.
The test subjects fear that the introduction of vaccination records north of the border next month could mean another disadvantage for them, as they cannot access the standard electronic version, but only have a sheet of paper.
Some were abused by antivaxxers online, while others found themselves forced to lie to get a legal dose, even though they had no information about any side effects of vaccine mixing.
Their plight was highlighted on Sunday when the Observer reported that England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, had asked ministers to withhold all UK clinical trial data from the EU in case European countries continue to be subject to Novavax and Valneva – Study deny entry.
About 1,000 Scots have signed up for the Novavax study, which will begin in the fall of 2020, a significant cohort of the 15,000 across the UK, and the initial results were considered extremely promising. However, the Guardian also received a notification this week to study participants in the north of England of another delay in regulatory approval of at least two months, meaning they will not be offered any booster vaccines.
The local study medical director’s email stated: âNovavax is unable to provide guidance on the safety of giving 2 doses of an approved vaccine or booster of an approved vaccine after having received 2 doses of the Novavax vaccine were received. “
The Scottish Liberal Democrat Alex Cole-Hamilton called on the Scottish government to get the irregularities under control. “It is worrying that those who have volunteered to test new vaccines that could protect us all are being treated as second-class citizens,” he said.
While Scottish government ministers have repeatedly assured volunteers that clinical trial participants have the same status as someone who has been vaccinated through the NHS program, volunteers ask how equitable that really is if they are not on the NHS Inform database and no QR code on their phone and only have a paper record of their status.
One participant from Aberdeen said: âWe need to self-isolate like we haven’t been vaccinated, our data isn’t on the NHS Inform website, we can’t download a QR code – and when all vaccine passports go into effect next month? We have a paper letter that is not to be equated with an app on your phone. “
She added, âI did not take part in this process to fight my own government. People don’t understand what it takes to participate in a process, and if we had known, we would never have signed up for it. “
When asked about the situation after her Covid statement last Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon affirmed that âno one who takes part in a process is disadvantagedâ.
She said: âAll participants in the clinical study have already received a letter from their principal investigator that can be used to prove their study status. This was a preliminary measure to allow people to access domestic venues that require certification.
“We recently also issued participants with a vaccination card that contains a 1D barcode and security features that match all vaccination cards.”
Vaccination records are required in a wide variety of situations in Scotland. This includes visiting nightclubs, indoor events with seats of more than 500 people, and events without seats of more than 10,000.
Scottish Vaccine Volunteers point out that most event and travel staff are trained to use QR codes rather than paper certificates. Although the UK Department of Health and Welfare insists on working with decentralized administrations to ensure a unified approach, these participants are annoyed by the Scottish government’s alleged refusal to register their details online, which it automatically does for anyone with an approved vaccine is .
Michaela, another volunteer from Aberdeen, said court officials told her the only way to get the certification she needed to visit her family in the EU was to formally withdraw from the trial and go to a one-stop shop . She was initially turned away when the vaccinator discovered that she had already received a trial dose.
“At some point I decided that there was no other way but to lie,” she said. “I felt abandoned and had to do my own experiment because I don’t know if there are side effects from mixing vaccines.”
Another health care volunteer from Glasgow also felt she had no choice but to lie to get an approved vaccine. After her child caught Covid, she described the “kick between the teeth” of being told she was considered unvaccinated for the purpose of self-isolation – just as the rules were changed to allow close contacts to return to work if they are fully vaccinated.
She said, âIn what world does this not disadvantage study participants? I couldn’t go to work, my team was understaffed and affected patient care. “
Novavax informed the Guardian that “final filings” are expected to the MHRA in the next few months and that “in addition to working day and night to complete the filing process, we will do everything in our power to stand up on that behalf” . of clinical study participants â.