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Great grandfather from Cornwall proud to play his part in fightback against COVID-19 by joining vaccine study

Great grandfather from Cornwall proud to play his part in fightback against COVID-19 by joining vaccine study

A 66-year-old great grandfather has spoken about his reasons for joining a COVID-19 vaccine research study in Cornwall.

Peter, who lives in Redruth with his partner, decided to take part in a clinical trial of a new vaccine for COVID-19 after hearing about it through the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry.

The retired Aerospace Quality manager, who together with his partner shares four children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild, said his main reason for joining the vaccine registry, and subsequently the clinical trial, was to help researchers ensure the vaccine was effective in the hope it would help people in the future.

Led by US biotechnology company Novavax, the trial is one of the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Urgent Public Health portfolio studies, which is also backed by the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce.

Peter is one of the 267 volunteers who took part in the phase three study at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust at the end of last year. The study, which recruited 15,000 participants, was testing the safety and effectiveness of a promising new vaccine across a broad spectrum of people, including those from a variety of age groups and backgrounds. It was supported locally by the NIHR Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula.

 “I signed up to the study primarily because I wanted to help the researchers prove that the vaccine worked and also to further the medical knowledge,” he said.  “I also thought it might be good to get involved to help protect myself because by taking part I may have been able to have the vaccine quicker. I hoped that if I had the vaccine during the trial I would be at less risk of being severely ill from COVID-19, particularly at my age.  But my primary reason was to help further the cause for making sure the vaccine worked in the hope it would help other people in the future.”

Not long after signing up to the registry, Peter got a telephone call from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust research team to check his eligibility and to explain in depth how the trial worked.

“I initially had a bit of anticipation going in to receive my first injection,” he said.  “But when I got there the team allayed any concerns I had and made me feel totally at ease. They took their time explaining everything to me about the process and about the vaccine so I felt very comfortable after being there for just a short time and confident that I was in safe hands.”

Peter received his second dose a few weeks later and is now taking part in regular follow-up appointments to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

“I will continue to take part for as long as they need me to,” he said. “I hope that I’ve played my part in this pandemic by taking part in research. The idea was to do something positive in this whole world of negativity around the virus. The more people that take part in research, the greater data can be collected to ensure that we have a vaccine to suit everyone and to be able to give the researchers the data they need to be able to make a much more valued determination of a vaccines efficacy.”

The study demonstrated that the vaccine is 89.3% effective at preventing COVID-19.This data was identified from interim analysis of the Phase III study and included effectiveness against the new variants.

How you can support vaccine research

If you’re interested in finding out more or in taking part in vaccine studies such as this one you can sign up to the NHS Vaccine Research Registry at www.nhs.uk/researchcontact.