The government does not plan to launch an investigation exclusively into the safety of vaccines against the coronavirus, the health minister said.

Caroline Johnson added that the vaccines would be considered as part of a wider UK investigation into COVID-19.

However, Dr Johnson insisted the shots were safe and urged those eligible to seek autumn boosters.

She was speaking during a debate in Parliament’s Westminster Hall in response to a petition calling for a public inquiry COVID-19 vaccine safety, which has been signed more than 107,000 times.

Several MPs raised concerns during the debate about the potential side effects of vaccines, including what some said was data showing a correlation with increased rates of cardiovascular problems.

The NHS website says that “reports of serious side effects are very rare” and that “the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK meet strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness”.

Scottish National MP Stephen Bonnar said the vaccine program had saved “millions of lives”, adding that almost 28,000 of those were in Scotland.

But he added: “Despite this, there has been a significant increase in heart attacks and other related illnesses since the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021.

“To determine whether there is any potential link to the spread of (vaccines) against COVID-19, I believe that this government should conduct an immediate and full scientific investigation and ensure that the medical interventions being prescribed in response to the coronavirus are indeed safe.”

But Mr Bonnar also said he would take his booster if called for and said people could “safely receive” their flu and COVID shots at the same time as part of the autumn booster plan, saying they were effective and “acceptably safe “. “.

Former Conservative minister Sir Christopher Chope said: “I share the legitimate concerns of the more than 100,000 people who have signed this petition and I share their belief that the recent and growing body of evidence relating to cardiovascular problems is sufficient concern to warrant a safety investigation.”

Sir Christopher chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the COVID-19 Vaccine, which is made up of five members: four Conservatives and one Labour.

He acknowledged that the wider COVID investigation “will cover, I think, a lot,” but said: “It won’t be for years.

“In the meantime, people are being encouraged to use more and more boosters, and they want to know, of course, what effects these boosters have on their health and what the potential risks and benefits are.

“The government seems to be in denial about the risks of these vaccines,” the Christchurch MP said, saying booster vaccines “are not entirely safe and there is a question about their effectiveness”.

He warned that the vaccine damage payment scheme was “not fit for purpose” and said: “A lot of people now won’t touch a launch vehicle with a barge pole, and I count myself among them.

“I’m not anti-vaccination, I had the first two vaccines, but from everything I’ve seen and know about it, I think increasing the number of boosters now is counterproductive for many people, and it’s also dangerous for some people.”

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Conservative MP Elliot Colburn led the debate but said: “I don’t think the government should launch a public inquiry into vaccine safety. I think it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money and I don’t think it’s necessary.

“We know that vaccines are the best way to protect against COVID-19, and they have already saved tens of thousands of lives.”

Dr Johnson, the health minister, said: “The government has already commissioned a public inquiry into the pandemic and vaccines against COVID will be examined as part of that inquiry. There are no plans to investigate vaccine safety alone.

“We have a tough winter ahead and together we must do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable and reduce the pressure on the NHS.

“I would encourage everyone who is eligible to step forward to get the COVID and flu vaccines as soon as they are available.”

She said: “There is no evidence that people are at increased risk of cardiac arrest in the days and weeks after the vaccine, and the risk of getting myocarditis or pericarditis after the vaccine remains very low.”