Covid-19 parliamentary update: 15-22 July 2021

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23 July 2021

WESTMINSTER PARLIAMENTARY UPDATE

Covid-19 Update – House of Commons (19 July)

Nadhim Zahawi (Minister for Covid vaccine deployment) released a written statement on the JCVI’s guidance for vaccinating children and young people.

Vaccines are now being offered to 12-15 year olds who are household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals and 12-15 year olds with the following underlying health conditions:

— Severe neuro-disabilities
— Down’s syndrome
— Underlying conditions relating to immunosuppression
— Those with profound and multiple learning disabilities or who are on the GP learning disability register

MPs debated this statement and raised concerns over the effects of long-covid on children and the impact this pandemic has had on their mental health.

The lifting of restrictions in England on 19 July was also raised by MPs with concerns over rising case numbers and MPs calling for masks to still be a requirement.

Read the full statement here and the debate here.

Written Parliamentary Question – Support for Immunocompromised (22 July)

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to support immunocompromised or immunosuppressed people, who are not protected by the COVID-19 vaccines and are clinically extremely vulnerable to the virus, to protect themselves after 19 July.

Lord Bethell: Guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals, 19 July guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19, was published on 12 July and is available in an online only format. The guidance outlines support for all clinically extremely vulnerable people, including those who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed. Available support includes the NHS Volunteer Responders service and a range of mental health and wellbeing support. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available until 30 September and local councils may be able to provide additional support. If concerned, an individual’s general practitioner practice or specialist can provide them with personalised advice on any additional precautions they should take.

In addition, immunocompromised individuals are a priority cohort for research into therapeutic and prophylaxis treatments such as monoclonal antibody therapies, novel antivirals and repurposed compounds.

Written Parliamentary Question – Coronavirus: CEV(20 July)

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimates they have made of the numbers of patients in England who remain clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 as of 19 July because (1) the vaccines are not effective for them due to their underlying condition, or (2) they have not received a vaccine.

Lord Bethell: We have not made a specific estimate. Approximately 9% of clinically extremely vulnerable people have not received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and thus remain at risk. A further 4% have received a single dose.

Written Parliamentary Question – Coronavirus: Disability (22 July)

Jim Shannon (DUP MP for Strangford): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government has made of effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the health and wellbeing of disabled people.

Justin Tomlinson (Minister of State for the Department of Work and Pensions): The impact of COVID-19 on disabled people, and those with health conditions, continues to be monitored across Government using a range of sources including regular engagement with disabled people and disability stakeholders to ensure the needs of disabled people are considered in the Government’s response to COVID-19. The Disability Unit is working with the Office for National Statistics to improve our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people.

We are learning as much as we can, as quickly as we can about this virus, who it affects and how best to keep everyone safe from it and protect those who may be more vulnerable than others.

We are committed to ensuring all disabled people can play a full role in society. That is why we will publish a National Disability Strategy in the coming weeks which will take into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people and will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life.

SENEDD PARLIAMENTARY UPDATE

Covid-19 update

The JCVI recommends that children and young people aged 12 -15 years with specific underlying health conditions that put them at risk of serious COVID-19 should be offered a COVID-19 vaccination. Essentially the clinically extremely vulnerable patient group now includes young people aged 12 and over. The NHS will work quickly to identify these young people and to offer them the vaccine.

Young people aged 16 to 17 years of age who are at higher risk of serious COVID-19, as currently set out in the Green Book, have already been offered the COVID-19 vaccination and should continue to be offered.

Children and young people aged 12 years and over who are household contacts of persons who are immunosuppressed should be offered a COVID-19 vaccination on the understanding that the main benefits from vaccination are related to the potential for indirect protection of their household contact who is immunosuppressed. There is a self-referral form available here.

More information available here.

If you have any questions, or would like to receive our full parliamentary weekly update about all issues affecting the UK’s genetic, rare and undiagnosed community, please email our Policy Analyst, sophie.peet@geneticalliance.org.uk.