News

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 19 February 2021

Media Summary

Over-40s could get first COVID vaccine in weeks as age to be ‘dominant’ factor in next phase of jabs rollout
Evening Standard, Sean Morrison, 19 February

The Evening Standard reports that Britons as young as 40 could be offered a Coronavirus vaccine within a few weeks. Age is likely to be a dominant factor in deciding the next phase of the rollout and the age brackets will reportedly be wider than in the previous stage of the nation’s inoculation drive. This means 40 to 49-year-olds are likely to be invited for a jab once the people in the top nine groups get their first dose.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Head of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said age “dominates by a long way” in deciding the next phase of the rollout. Underlying health conditions contribute “some increased risk”, Prof Lim added, but not by a “huge amount.”

The JCVI has not yet set out plans on who should be vaccinated beyond the top nine priority groups, but has faced calls for police officers and teachers to be prioritised in the next stage.

 

COVID-19 collaborations could ‘unlock’ the potential of the UK’s life sciences sector
Pharma Times, Lucy Parsons, 18 February

Pharma Times reports that a new publication by Novartis UK has recommended continuing collaboration across the life sciences sector in the UK after identifying enhanced collective efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ‘New Possible’ report has found that responses to COVID-19 were collective and represented an enhanced collaboration between government, regulators, academia and the pharmaceutical industry. This enhanced collaboration provides a new opportunity to ‘unlock’ the potential of the UK life sciences sector.

The report suggests the new ways of working, which have emerged in response to the pandemic, could help to accelerate future medical discoveries and also lead to more patient-centric approaches to healthcare in the future.

“COVID-19 and our collective response to it brought greater innovation and health service transformation than witnessed in generations,” said Chinmay Bhatt, Managing Director of Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK, Ireland and Nordics. “We have seen that we are stronger, more innovative and more sustainable when we work together. To overcome the substantial pressures on the health service, it is crucial that we sustain these new ways of working in the years to come,” he added.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

Over-40s could get first COVID vaccine in weeks as age to be ‘dominant’ factor in next phase of jabs rollout
Evening Standard, Sean Morrison, 19 February

Britons as young as 40 could be offered a Coronavirus vaccine within a few weeks, it has been reported.

Age is likely to be a dominant factor in deciding the next phase of the rollout, Government advisors have said.

And the age brackets will reportedly be wider than in the previous stage of the nation’s inoculation drive.

This means 40 to 49-year-olds are likely to be invited for a jab once the people in the top nine groups get their first dose, according to the Mail.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, head of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said age “dominates by a long way” in deciding the next phase of the rollout.

Underlying health conditions contribute “some increased risk”, Prof Lim added, but not by a “huge amount”.

The JCVI has not yet set out plans on who should be vaccinated beyond the top nine priority groups, but has faced calls for police officers and teachers to be prioritised in the next stage.

Appearing at an online event Prof Lim said that one of the “great successes” of the vaccination programme had been the rate of deployment and this was now the “most important factor”, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The newspaper also reported that the first “real world” data examining the impact of the vaccination programme suggests both the Oxford and Pfizer jabs cut two thirds of infections and transmissions.

Boris Johnson is understood to be expecting evidence on the impact of the UK’s jabs programme on hospital admissions and deaths by the end of Friday.

He will then set out his “road map” out of England’s lockdown next week.

Elsewhere, a range of health organisations have told the Prime Minister that guidance on PPE (personal protective equipment) must be updated to reflect the risks to medics and care workers from airborne transmission.

In a letter to Mr Johnson, they said that lives are being put at risk and branded measures to reduce airborne spread of the virus in high-risk health and care settings as “inadequate”.

The coalition includes the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), British Medical Association, Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Royal College of Midwives, among a number of others.

It comes as Mr Johnson is set to pledge to donate the majority of surplus Coronavirus vaccines to poorer nations as he tries to rally world leaders to work together on efforts to combat the pandemic.

He will chair a virtual gathering of G7 leaders on Friday, including US president Joe Biden in his first major multilateral meeting, to discuss the response to the crisis.

In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford is set to announce on Friday that stay-at-home restrictions will remain in place for a further three weeks as the youngest children start returning to school from Monday.

Northern Ireland’s lockdown has been after the Stormont Executive decided to keep the majority of restrictions in place until April 1, but some primary school pupils will return to class on March 8.

Elsewhere, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she wants “if at all possible” for the current Coronavirus lockdown to be the last, as she stressed that the lifting of restrictions must be sustainable.

 

COVID-19 collaborations could ‘unlock’ the potential of the UK’s life sciences sector
Pharma Times, Lucy Parsons, 18 February

A new report by Novartis UK has recommended continuing collaboration across the life sciences sector in the UK after identifying enhanced collective efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New Possible report has found that responses to COVID-19 were collective and represented an enhanced collaboration between government, regulators, academia and the pharmaceutical industry.

This enhanced collaboration, according to the report, provides a new opportunity to ‘unlock’ the potential of the UK life sciences sector.

The report suggests the new ways of working, which have emerged in response to the pandemic, could help to accelerate future medical discoveries and also lead to more patient-centric approaches to healthcare in the future.

It highlighted, among other things, the potential of collaborations aimed at finding new uses for existing medicines, which could be of particular use in rare disease research.

“Patient involvement in decision-making relating to their health is really important, particularly as the health service rebuilds for the long-term,” said Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association.

“The ongoing COVID-19 emergency has shown the need to ensure the NHS and its partners are continually considering the impact of their actions on patients and involving them in decisions about their care,” she added.

“COVID-19 and our collective response to it brought greater innovation and health service transformation than witnessed in generations,” said Chinmay Bhatt, Managing Director of Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK, Ireland and Nordics.

“We have seen that we are stronger, more innovative and more sustainable when we work together. To overcome the substantial pressures on the health service, it is crucial that we sustain these new ways of working in the years to come,” he added.

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 19 February 2021

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