Evusheld

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 28th November 2022.

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Photo of Lord Mendelsohn Lord Mendelsohn Labour

To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to undertake an equalities assessment on the availability of protection from COVID-19, given that immunocompromised and vulnerable patients' only access to Evusheld costs up to £3,000 on the private market.

Photo of Lord Markham Lord Markham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Antivirals and Therapeutics Taskforce has undertaken an equalities impact assessment which informed the advice to Ministers on the decision not to procure Evusheld at this time. The impact assessment analysed the effects of any such decision on groups with protected characteristics. It also reviewed the OCTAVE study to determine whether individuals with immunosuppression receive adequate protection from COVID-19 via the national vaccination programme. The study found that 11% of immunocompromised patients fail to generate any antibodies following vaccination and 40% mounted a low serological response. This suggested that a small number of individuals remain vulnerable to COVID-19 infection despite the vaccine programme.

However, due to the uncertainty of the impact of the Evusheld as a prophylactic treatment against Omicron variants, the degree of any such benefits is unclear. It has now been referred to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for further evaluation. While AstraZeneca has made Evusheld available privately in the United Kingdom, this is a matter for individual patients and healthcare providers and is distinct from any Government consideration of its use within the National Health Service. Additional pharmaceutical interventions, including antivirals, are available to treat hospitalised and non-hospitalised patients most at risk from COVID-19 infection.

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