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More than 11,000 register for information on COVID-19 vaccine studies

More than 11,000 register for information on COVID-19 vaccine studies

More than 11,000 people have signed up to a new NHS website to receive information on COVID-19 vaccine studies they could take part in.

The NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry website will help recruit thousands of people to trials, potentially leading to effective vaccines being identified and made available to the UK public earlier.

More than 225,000 UK volunteers have signed up, including 4,335 in Berkshire, 2,205 in Buckinghamshire, 1,045 in Milton Keynes and 3,945 in Oxfordshire. See the NHS Digital website for the latest figures.

Anyone aged 18 or over can register by providing personal and contact details and answering basic health screening questions such as whether they have a long-term health condition, for example asthma. Having a condition does not exclude them from being considered for trials.

Research shows some groups 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 65s, frontline workers and those from black, Asian and ethnic minority communities.

Researchers will send an email or text with more information about the study to anyone who matches the criteria for their trial. There is no obligation to take part in any study and people can remove their contact details and withdraw from a study at any time.

Sign up online at www.nhs.uk/researchcontact 

The registry has been developed as part of the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce, in partnership with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), NHS Digital and the Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh Governments.

It complements other studies into COVID-19 including treatments and new tests that have recruited more than 5,000 participants in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire.

Katherine Millbank was diagnosed COVID-19 in March and spent two weeks in the intensive care unit at Aylesbury’s Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The Ledburn, Buckinghamshire resident was given steroid dexamethasone as part of the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial into comparing different treatments for hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

Dexamethasone was found to reduce hospital deaths from COVID-19 and approved for use in the NHS in June.

Mrs Millbank, 55, said: "I was shivering so much. My joints were aching, I had a cough. It was a scary time for me.

“I remember thinking ‘I can’t fight this anymore, I’ve had enough of it’ but then I dreamt my husband [Paul Millbank] was there telling me I was going to pull through, which helped me a lot.

"I’d urge everyone to sign up to take part in these vaccine trials. Anyone can catch this awful virus, so everyone will benefit from their results.”

Chief Executive of the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network Dr William van’t Hoff said: “I’m really grateful to the volunteers who have signed up to the NHS vaccine registry.

“I also want to praise the staff from the research community, NIHR and NHS, who have worked so well in partnership to achieve rapid recruitment into trials to tackle COVID-19.

“I would encourage everyone who hasn’t already signed up to look at the website and consider whether they would like to join the register, before the large-scale vaccine trials start in the coming weeks.”