Covid Inquiry’s probe into vaccines is delayed indefinitely as chair admits postponement will be ‘disappointing for some’

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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A long-awaited probe into the development of Covid vaccines and drugs was today postponed indefinitely.

Hearings for the fourth module of the official inquiry were set to begin this summer but have been rescheduled.

Baroness Heather Hallett, chair of the investigation, said: ‘I know the postponement of these hearings will be disappointing for some.

‘I want to ensure our hearings in 2024 are as effective as possible and I recognise the increasing pressure on organisations to respond to requests and provide information to the inquiry.

Hearings for the fourth module of the official inquiry, which looks at vaccines and therapeutics, were set to begin this summer but have been rescheduled

‘I wish to reassure you that we will hold these hearings as soon as possible.’

Dozens of families are suing AstraZeneca over allegations they were harmed by the firm’s jab, which was rolled out widely in January 2021, nine months after the nation was plunged into its first lockdown.

Many were struck down by vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), an extremely rare complication which can cause deadly blood clots.

However, the jabs — including the rival mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna — were a success on the whole.

Leading scientists estimate they saved 6million lives across the world. Millions more were protected from falling seriously ill.

Baroness Hallett vowed to ensure the inquiry, which is thought to have cost taxpayers in the area of £145million already, doesn’t run beyond summer 2026.

According to a statement on the inquiry website, the hearings will now take place ‘at a later date’.

It said this is to allow organisations to prioritise module three, which is solely looking at the impact of the pandemic on healthcare.

The Covid Inquiry is split into six segments.

The first explored pandemic preparedness, while the second looked at core UK decision-making and political governance.

Modules five and six will focus on the procurement and distribution of healthcare equipment and supplies, and the impact of the pandemic on the adult social care sector, respectively.

Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock have all been grilled in eye-opening exchanges that illustrated the infighting at the heart of government.

Scientific insights have also been shared by the likes of Chris Whitty, Jonathan Van-Tam and Patrick Vallance.

Excerpts of the latter’s diary were handed over to the inquiry as part of its second module, which began in October, examining government decision-making during the darkest days of the crisis.

In them, he wrote that the then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak was ‘all about handling the scientists’ rather than managing the virus outbreak during a meeting.

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