Nadhim Zahawi – 2021 Statement on Moderna

The statement made by Nadhim Zahawi, the Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment, in the House of Commons on 13 April 2021.

I am tabling this statement for the benefit of hon. and right hon. Members to bring to their attention the contingent liabilities relating to the contract signed between Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) and Moderna for its covid-19 vaccine.

On 1 April 2021, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) granted a conditional market authorisation (CMA) for use of the covid-19 vaccine being manufactured by Moderna. With deployment of this vaccine beginning on 7 April 2021, I am now updating the House on the liabilities HMG has taken on in relation to this vaccine via this statement and the departmental minute available as an online attachment.

The agreement to provide an indemnity as part of the contract between HMG and Moderna creates a contingent liability on the covid-19 vaccination programme. It has been and remains the Government’s strategy to manage covid-19 until an effective vaccine/s can be deployed at scale. Putting in place appropriate indemnities to be given to vaccine suppliers has helped to secure access to vaccines much sooner than may have been the case otherwise.

Given the exceptional circumstances we are in, and the terms on which developers are willing to supply a covid-19 vaccine, we along with other nations have taken a broad approach to indemnification proportionate to the situation we are in.

Even though the covid-19 vaccines have been developed at pace, at no point and at no stage of development has safety been bypassed. The independent MHRA’s approval for use of the Moderna vaccine clearly demonstrates that this vaccine has satisfied, in full, all the necessary requirements for safety, effectiveness, and quality. We are providing indemnities in the unexpected event of any adverse reactions that could not have been foreseen through the robust checks and procedures that have been put in place.

Given the pace of vaccine development and our ambition to deploy the vaccine as soon as it has been authorised, it has not been possible to provide the normal 14 sitting days to consider this issue of contingent liabilities. Therefore, with immediate effect, all vaccination services are now able to extend their vaccination offer to those aged 45 to 49 years.

I will update the House in a similar manner as and when other covid-19 vaccines are deployed.

Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2021-04-13/HCWS910/.