UK vaccines pioneer Kate Bingham among 40,000 prevented from foreign travel

NHS computer system failing to recognise unapproved jabs of clinical triallists

Lead research nurse Vash Deelchand gives a demonstration of the vaccine trial process as Kate Bingham, Chair of the Government's Vaccine Taskforce, starts her Novavax trial at the Royal Free Hospital, north London. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)

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The woman credited as the architect of the UK's vaccine rollout is one of 40,000 people in Britain unable to travel abroad because she was vaccinated in early clinical trials.

Britain's National Health Service computer system is refusing to recognise the separately administered jabs of Dame Kate Bingham and her fellow vaccine triallists, and won't do so for several weeks, according to The Telegraph.

The technological impasse means thousands of people from Britain are reluctant to book a holiday abroad as they don't have a green tick on their vaccine passports.

Biochemist and venture capitalist Ms Bingham was placed in charge of the UK government's vaccine taskforce last year.

In contrast to the government's widely derided test and trace system, the efforts of the taskforce have been lauded, and Ms Bingham made a Dame in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in recognition of her leadership.

The taskforce procured over 350 million doses of six coronavirus vaccines, allowing the UK to get out of the vaccination blocks faster than most other countries.

As of Wednesday, more than two-thirds of people from Britain had received two doses.

Ms Bingham is believed to have been given her second jab in spring, the yet-to be-approved Novavax vaccine.

It is neither recognised by the NHS nor accepted by EU countries, leading to concerns that potential future vaccine triallists will be deterred from participating if they are unable to get vaccine passports.

The issue has been acknowledged by Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, who sent a letter to vaccine volunteers reassuring them they "will not be disadvantaged in terms of any future domestic vaccine certification".

Of the current problem he wrote "it will take a few weeks for the NHS to complete the programming work, but it will happen before the end of July."

Updated: July 15th 2021, 10:57 AM
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