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Coronavirus: Disease Control

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL964, tabled on 9 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to protect immunocompromised individuals from COVID-19 as cases rise in areas of England.

Answered on

6 July 2021

Those who are immunocompromised were either classed as clinically extremely vulnerable and included in priority group four, or as being at increased clinical risk and therefore included in priority group six within phase one of the COVID-19 vaccine programme. Research continues into looking at vaccine efficacy rates in this group.

Work has also continued in developing alternative antiviral and therapeutic therapies. The new Antivirals Taskforce aims to identify effective treatments for patients, including those who are immunocompromised, who have been exposed to the virus to prevent the spread of infection and increase recovery time. Immunocompromised individuals are also a priority cohort for research into therapeutic and prophylaxis treatments such as monoclonal antibody therapies, novel antivirals and repurposed compounds.

A wide range of treatments are currently in clinical trials in the United Kingdom and the Government is monitoring trials worldwide. It is not yet possible to determine the exact patient groups who may be able to benefit, as this will depend on the results of the trials, licensing approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and deployment planning between the Department, NHS England and expert clinicians. The Government is taking steps to ensure supply of treatments in the event that they are found to be effective at treating COVID-19, including for immunocompromised individuals. The Government continues to monitor the situation and will update the established guidance where necessary.