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SITC evidence: The UK Health Security Agency and the legacy of UK Covid19 programmes

28 February 2024

Last month the Committee heard compelling evidence from senior medics and scientists involved in the UK response to the Covid19 pandemic, including notable testimony from senior figures on the UK’s Vaccine Task Force (VTF).

Widely regarded as the most successful part of the UK pandemic response, witnesses expressed deep concern about the legacy of the Vaccine Task Force and whether the massive efforts of doctors, scientists and volunteers, and gains made in UK diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities and capacity, were now at risk of being lost.  

Questions were raised about the fate of the flagship Rosalind Franklin laboratory – a state of the art facility built as part of the Lighthouse network to increase diagnostic capacity, but then closed and recently listed for sale on Rightmove – with the Committee urging Government (including in its report into the life and limb-saving antimicrobial potential of bacteriophages) to consider how expertise gained in the pandemic response, as well as the significant public investment, could be captured and embodied in a new purpose for the facility.

The Committee is now taking the unusual step of publishing the full recommendations of the VTF, originally prepared in December 2020 and submitted to Government but never previously made public. The VTF’s recommendations have been submitted for publication as evidence to the inquiry by Dr Clive Dix, Chief Executive Officer at C4X Discovery, who was instrumental in the Task Force’s work and findings.  

The three panels of witnesses - including a former industry adviser to the VTF and Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer during the pandemic and now Chief Exec of the UK Health Security Agency charged with preparedness for emerging health threats - will be questioned on the learnings from the pandemic and what has been done to capitalise and build on the success of the VTF, and any wider gains from the pandemic response.  


On Wednesday 28 February in Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminster

At 2.00pm

  • Nicola Newman, Managing Director at Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Service
  • Sarah Brampton, Deputy Chief Executive at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

At approx 2:45pm  

  • Ian McCubbin CBE, Former Industry Adviser at UK Government Vaccine Taskforce

At approx 3:15pm 

  • Professor Dame Jenny Harries, Chief Executive Officer at UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)

Further information

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