London: The UK has announced that it will offer new vaccinations to thousands of people who volunteered to try the Novavax coronavirus vaccine, which has not yet been approved for use in any country.
About 15,000 people in the UK received Novavax shots as part of a clinical trial. While the UK recognizes them as vaccinated, most countries do not, which means they cannot travel.
So the UK Health Department said on Friday (Saturday AEDT) that more than 15,000 participants will receive two doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
The government says it plans to expand the offer to around 6,000 UK participants in trials of other vaccines that are also not approved for use.
The UK has appealed to other members of the group of 20 nations to classify volunteers in clinical trials as vaccinated, but most have not.
The UK’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, noted that “if more countries around the world had retaliated by allowing British volunteers to enjoy fully vaccinated status for travel abroad, these measures would not have been necessary.”
In June, Novavax announced that its vaccine had been shown to be about 90 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19 in a study of nearly 30,000 people in the United States and Mexico.
US-based Novavax has asked the World Health Organization to approve its COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use so that it can be part of COVAX’s global vaccine program. But it has delayed seeking approval in Europe or the United States.