People from across the south west have helped a new vaccine trial registry for Covid-19 research reach a milestone. Over 100,000 people have now signed up to the NHS COVID-19 vaccine registry, helping to speed up efforts to discover safe and effective vaccines. This includes thousands of people from across the south west, meaning they will be amongst the first in the world to be contacted with details about the large-scale vaccination trials starting in the coming weeks and invited to take part.
Speaking about the milestone, Alison Potter, Senior Research Delivery Manager – NIHR, Clinical Research Network, South West Peninsula, commented: “This is a fantastic achievement, reflecting the commitment of individuals to contribute to COVID-19 research. I’d like to thank the thousands of people across the South West Peninsula who have already joined the NHS vaccine register and want to do their bit to help us find effective vaccines sooner. If you haven’t already, I’d urge you to join them and sign up today through www.nhs.uk/researchcontact. This is the best way to help save and protect millions of lives, across the NHS and indeed the whole world.
“People who have joined the NHS vaccine register will be the first to hear when the trials start recruiting in our area. We’re currently planning how people in the South West will be able to take part in the large scale vaccine trials opening in the coming weeks. If you have any queries or would like more information, visit www.bepartofresearch.org for more information.”
To enable large-scale vaccine studies to take place across the UK, the aim is to get as many people as possible signed up to the register by October. NHS and research officials are working with scientists and the organisations behind development of the different vaccines, with the aim of bringing at least one and possibly several vaccines to the people in the South West for testing in the autumn.
Researchers are looking for people from all backgrounds, ages and parts of the UK, including both people with or without existing health conditions, to take part in vaccine studies, to make sure that any vaccines developed will work for everyone. Research has found that certain groups of people are more likely to catch the virus or suffer severe illness as a result, so those who are most likely to benefit from vaccines are particularly invited to sign up. These include over the 65s, frontline workers and those from the black, Asian and ethnic minority communities.
Clinical studies with a diverse group of volunteers will help scientists and researchers better understand the effectiveness of each vaccine candidate and will considerably speed up efforts to discover a safe and workable vaccine.
Eighteen-year-old Marium Zumeer from Bradford, who was hospitalised after contracting COVID-19, has first-hand experience of the benefits of taking part in clinical trials. During her time in intensive care, she was offered the opportunity to take part in the national RECOVERY Trial, which is testing a range of potential treatments for COVID-19. This includes the drug dexamethasone, which was found to be the first drug to be effective when treating those who are critically ill with the virus.
RECOVERY trial volunteer Marium Zumeer said: "I will always be grateful for being encouraged to sign up. I remember my dad at the time urging me to take part, not just for myself but for the wider community. The result has been really positive for me and I would encourage others to do their bit in helping us all in the fight against coronavirus."