Government to offer additional vaccines to trial participants to enable foreign travel
The Scottish Government is to allow the 1,500 people who took part in trials for currently unauthorised Covid-19 vaccines to request a further course of immunisations to enable them to travel abroad.
Following a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) chief medical officer Gregor Smith has written to health boards advising them to offer any trial participants two doses of a vaccine that has been approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), such as those made by AstraZeneca or Moderna.
It comes after people who took part in clinical trials for drugs such as Novavax, Medicago or Valneva, which have not yet been authorised by the MHRA, encountered difficulties in accessing international travel. In order to travel abroad it is necessary to show a vaccine certificate that contains a QR code, but people who took part in trials for vaccines that have not yet been authorised received a certificate that contains only a barcode.
Smith said he was “extremely grateful” to everyone who took part in a Scottish trial and noted the “important contribution they have made in tackling the pandemic”.
"The Scottish and UK governments have been working with international partners to agree recognition for Covid-19 clinical trial participants, but there is still currently no internationally agreed policy,” he said.
"Allowing participants in trials for vaccines which are not yet authorised in the UK to request another primary vaccination course with authorised vaccines should help to resolve this situation.
“The JCVI has also agreed that those who have participated in clinical trials will be offered a booster vaccination in accordance with the criteria set for the wider booster programme."
Trial participants who receive an additional course of a UK-authorised vaccine will have this added to their digital record of vaccination, which will enable their Covid status app to be updated.