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Health needs law changes to enable C-19 vaccine's use

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HEALTH and Social Care is seeking law changes to allow any vaccine against Covid-19 to be acquired and used in the island.

Many laboratories are working on a vaccine for Covid-19.

It will go to the States next week asking for members to approve changes to the 2009 ordinance governing the use of prescription only medicines in the Bailiwick.

HSC president Heidi Soulsby described its move as being necessary to make sure the island 'has all its ducks in a row'.

'Due to the speed of the development of potential vaccines, which ordinarily take around five years to develop, it is likely that some vaccinations will be granted a temporary authorisation for "early use" in the UK through powers given to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in The Human Medicines Regulations 2012,' said a statement from HSC.

'HSC is similarly keen to ensure that the Bailiwick is ready to vaccinate, so that a vaccine/s can be procured from the NHS supply chain, when it becomes available.'

Deputy Soulsby said that a number of potential vaccine candidates are in various stages of development: 'It is hoped that a vaccine may be available by the end of 2020.

'For Guernsey to deliver a vaccination programme of this scale and complexity ahead of the detail of the precise vaccine has been confirmed, the appropriate legislative framework needs to be in place to enable the Bailiwick to respond to the unprecedented circumstances it is facing.'

The law as it stands does not allow the administration of an unlicensed drug in Guernsey.

'But this doesn't give us carte blanche to take up some vaccine that someone is touting,' she said, and HSC will be working with the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation once a vaccine is identified.

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