The Rt Hon. Matt Hancock MP and Nadhim Zahawi MP
Department of Health and Social Care
39 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0EU
|Saturday 2 January, 2021|
Dear Secretary of State and Under Secretary of State,
Re: Coronavirus Vaccination Programme in England
We are writing to seek urgent clarity regarding recent changes to the coronavirus vaccination programme.
Firstly, we welcome the commencement of a vaccination programme that prioritizes those vulnerable people most at risk from the virus and those frontline workers most likely to be exposed to the virus. We write only to support this programme’s success and ensure maximum take-up.
We are, however, concerned that recent changes could risk the success of the vaccine programme. We wanted to ensure that we had all the correct information regarding these changes and would be most grateful if you could provide us with information about the following areas of concern.
Concerns regarding the guidance on the doses:
- Can you confirm the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) only approved both types of vaccines for two doses and not single doses?
- What scientific advice has been taken regarding the combination of the two different types of vaccines?
- What scientific evaluation has there been of combining two variants of similar vaccines?
- What support is the UK Government offering to pharmaceutical companies to research and trial whether combining two types of vaccine improves efficacy?
- The Government’s Green Book guidance was recently updated to state the following:For individuals who started the schedule and who attend for vaccination at a site where the same vaccine is not available, or if the first product received is unknown, it is reasonable to offer one dose of the locally available product to complete the schedule. This option is preferred if the individual is likely to be at immediate high risk or is considered unlikely to attend again. In these circumstances, as both the vaccines are based on the spike protein, it is likely the second dose will help to boost the response to the first dose. For this reason, until additional information becomes available, further doses would not then be required.
Source: COVID-19: The Green Book, chapter 14a (31/12/2020), page 12. Link: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-the-green-book-chapter-14a
Why is this guidance needed?
- If this guidance is needed because of fears about availability of the different vaccine types, what contingency planning has been put in place to avoid a lack of availability?
- Given that a senior Public Health England official has said publicly that ‘we do not recommend mixing the Covid-19 vaccines’, will you review the guidance?
Source: ‘Mixing Covid Vaccines “Not Recommended”, Says Public Health England Expert’, Huffington Post (02/01/2021).
- What assessment has been made of a single dose being a safer ‘last resort’ than the combination of different vaccines?
- What is the protocol for recording the type of vaccines administered to each patient?
- Is the vaccinator failing to record the type of vaccine administered to a patient a ‘Never Event’?
Concerns regarding the timing of a second dose:
- Are you confident that the provision of two doses of the same vaccine type to every patient, as in the plan approved by the MHRA, will be unaffected by these new timings?
- What assurances have you sought to understand the implications for each different type of vaccine of changing the time interval between doses from four weeks to 12 weeks?
- How and why has the strategy changed with regards to 12-week wait?
- What risk assessments have been done regarding the take-up of the second dose under this extended time period?
- Is the change in vaccination strategy intended to maximise the number of people with partial vaccination?
- Is the Government intending to loosen social distancing guidance following partial vaccination?
- Why are those who have already received the first dose, including healthcare professionals, having their second dose cancelled?
- Why was the new process not introduced for new vaccine recipients only?
- How will local vaccination programmes be supported to administer the cancellation of appointments?
- Will spare doses from non-attended appointments be made available for those awaiting a second dose, or must these be used as first doses?
Olivia Blake, MP for Sheffield, Hallam
Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth
Tahir Ali, MP for Birmingham, Hall Green
Paula Barker, MP for Liverpool, Wavertree
Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse
Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East
Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central
Ian Byrne, MP for Liverpool, West Derby
Dan Carden, MP for Liverpool, Walton
Daisy Cooper, MP for St Albans
Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire
The Rt Hon. Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North
Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow
Geraint Davies, MP for Swansea West
Yvonne Fovargue, MP for Makerfield
Mary Foy, MP for City of Durham
Lilian Greenwood, MP for Nottingham South
Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish
Rachel Hopkins, MP for Luton South
Dame Diana Johnson, MP for Kingston upon Hull North
Kim Johnson, MP for Liverpool, Riverside
Barbara Keeley, MP for Worsley and Eccles South
Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck
Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South
Rebecca Long Bailey, MP for Salford and Eccles
The Rt Hon. John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington
Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead
Navendu Mishra, MP for Stockport
Grahame Morris, MP for Easington
Sarah Olney, MP for Richmond Park
Kate Osamor, MP for Edmonton
Kate Osborne, MP for Jarrow
Sarah Owen, MP for Luton North
Bell Ribeiro-Addy, MP for Streatham
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Brighton, Kemptown
Zarah Sultana, MP for Coventry South
Jon Trickett, MP for Hemsworth
Claudia Webbe, MP for Leicester East
Mick Whitley, MP for Birkenhead
Nadia Whittome, MP for Nottingham East