Medicines legislation update ahead of vaccine roll-out

Amendments to the Island’s medicines legislation to help the Government prepare for a large scale Covid-19 vaccination programme will be tabled at this month’s sitting of Tynwald.  

If approved, an amendment to the legislation will widen the range of health and care professionals authorised to supply, administer and manage vaccines, expanding the potential workforce. This means that when a coronavirus vaccine arrives in the Island, it can be offered safely and as quickly as possible to the population.   

Developers of the first effective coronavirus vaccine, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNtech are seeking a temporary authorisation from the UK licensing authority so that the vaccine can be provided to the public at the earliest opportunity, once it passes final safety tests.  

Changes are now required to the Isle of Man Medicines Act 2003 to reflect this, and accordingly a proposed amendment will allow for the sale or supply of medicinal products which have been temporarily authorised, for use in a public health emergency. A further, related amendment allows for such medicines to be advertised to the public as part of a government campaign.  

Amending the Act’s Regulations in this way ensures that any immunisation programme will be underpinned by a clear legal framework, while the update will bring the Isle of Man in line with current practice in the United Kingdom. 

Minister for the Department of Health and Social Care David Ashford said: ‘We have been waiting and hoping for a vaccine for Covid-19. We need to ensure our population can benefit from the vaccine without undue delay, and that means having appropriate legislation in place. By bringing these amendments to Tynwald a month earlier than planned, we are keeping ahead of the game. Our clear aim is to establish a new protocol to allow vaccinations to go ahead at pace, safely.’ 

Minister Ashford added: ‘News of the vaccine breakthrough is very welcome, but there is still some way to go before vaccine supplies are released, and a number of stages to go through before we can offer it to the public. Much work is underway across government to plan the complex logistics required for roll-out.’  

‘The changes proposed, if approved by Tynwald, will ensure we have the correct legal framework to deliver the vaccine for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole.’

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