Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what horizon scanning for vaccines against infectious diseases is conducted by (a) the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, (b) the UK Health Security Agency, (c) the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, (d) his Department and (e) NHS England; and whether he has made an assessment of the effectiveness of current approaches for supporting immunisation policy development and implementation.
Horizon scanning at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) aims to future-proof the agency by identifying emerging opportunities and challenges, to ensure it remains an enabling regulator capable of supporting safe innovation with respect to healthcare products.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) works closely with national and international partners to assess the risks posed by infectious diseases. Horizon scanning for vaccines is conducted against disease threats identified by the National Security Risk Assessment. Other criteria covered in UKHSA’s horizon scanning for vaccines include the risk of an outbreak occurring, burden of disease and feasibility of vaccine development.
UKHSA also works closely with global vaccine developers and manufacturers and with vaccine funders to ensure knowledge is constantly provided to support policy decisions on vaccine procurement and deployment.
The Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) identifies gaps relating to immunisations or immunisation programmes where further research and/or surveillance should be considered.
NHS England works closely with JCVI, the Department and UKHSA to operationalise decisions made by Government on vaccinations and immunisation programmes across England.
The Department provides investment through the National Institute of Health and Care Research Innovation Observatory in health innovation futures scanning. This provides awareness and access to intelligence to support national decision making around health care innovation, in particular supporting National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Accelerated Access Collaborative within the National Health Service.