Over 100,000 people have volunteered to take part in COVID-19 vaccine trials, helping to speed up efforts to discover a safe and effective vaccine.
The UK government is today (Monday 17 August) encouraging more people to join the thousands of volunteers and sign up to the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry to help the NHS in the fight against coronavirus and ensure potential candidates work for everyone.
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 Registry by October.
Researchers particularly welcome people from all parts of society, especially those who are more likely to benefit from a vaccine, including the over 65s, frontline health and social care workers, and those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
Clinical studies with a diverse pool 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.
Chair of the UK Government’s Vaccines Taskforce, Kate Bingham, said:
"Protecting those at risk is the only way we will end this pandemic. That's why we are working as quickly as possible to run clinical studies on the most promising vaccines to see whether they offer protection against COVID-19, whilst adhering to the UK's strict safety and regulatory processes. And we need people throughout the UK to sign up to the registry to help us achieve this.
“Getting 100,000 volunteers on board is a great start but we need many more people from many different backgrounds that we can call on for future studies if we are to find a vaccine quickly to protect those who need it against coronavirus."
Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, said:
“It’s great to see so many people in Wales have already chosen to sign up to this UK-wide online registry, allowing researchers to contact them to take part in COVID-19 vaccine studies.
“We need to make sure the vaccines that are developed work for everyone, so it’s really important we have people sign up from different backgrounds and ages.
“This tool is vital in our continued fight against COVID-19 and I would encourage more volunteers to consider taking part.”
A number of trials in the UK are expected to begin this autumn, working with the NHS, research institutions and businesses, helping to develop and manufacture the vaccines.
Launched on 20 July, the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry is an online service allowing members of the public to register their interest in Covid-19 vaccine studies and be contacted to participate in future clinical trials.
Vaccines are tested in stages to ensure they are safe and effective. Volunteers who are contacted to take part in trials will be given information about what stage a particular vaccine is at and details of how it has already been tested. They will be able to consider this when deciding to take part and people can withdraw from the registry at any point.
The Registry has been developed by the government, in partnership with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), NHS Digital, the Scottish and Welsh governments and the Northern Ireland Executive.