From the day of its announcement in September, the Government’s COVID vaccine has faced controversy, with critics claiming the new law is unnecessarily restrictive, leaving patients without the benefits of the vaccine while it is still being developed.
A recent study published in The Lancet found the vaccine’s efficacy was lower than the best available in developing countries.
The Bill to Help People Avoid Hospitalisation for the National COVID Vaccine has been introduced to the Commons today.
Read moreThe bill aims to provide a range of healthcare benefits to people who get the vaccine through the Government scheme, with the aim of saving more than £300 million a year.
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the benefit to people in the UK could be between £30,000 and £50,000 per year.
However, the National Health Service, which administers the scheme, said in a statement the benefits were only available to people under the age of 18.
Its health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said: This is a bill that will deliver significant benefits to the health of the people of the United Kingdom.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said:It is not a bill designed to prevent people from seeking healthcare.
“The Bill will ensure that all people in Britain get the full benefits of COVID vaccines, which include the vaccine, the medicines that help to protect against COVID, and the other benefits that are expected to follow if they do.”
Read More: What’s the new COVID bill?
What to know about COVID preventionIn June, Prime Minister Theresa May said the government was aiming to save £300m a year by 2020, but the bill would cost between £3.2bn and £5.4bn.
Many of the measures in the bill have already been discussed and debated by Parliament.
More than 100 amendments have been tabled in Parliament, with amendments being debated at length.
The bill has been subject to a consultation, with some sections of the Government, including health ministers, facing criticism from those who believe it is unnecessarily strict.
Some MPs and peers are calling for a more relaxed approach to the legislation, with Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Tom Watson, suggesting that the Government should make sure that COVID vaccinations are available in the community as well.
Read moreA spokesperson from the Department for Health said the Government would continue to consult on the bill.
She added: “This bill is not designed to stop people from obtaining the vaccine or to impose a waiting period.
But the Government will continue to work closely with the NHS and health providers to make sure we deliver the best possible value for money for all our patients and the wider community.”