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World-first covid-19 vaccine booster study launches in Eastern region


Volunteers from the East of England will soon be able to receive a third ‘booster’ COVID-19 vaccine through a new Government-funded clinical trial launching this week, the Health Secretary has announced.

The Cov-Boost study will be run at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) and is being led by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. It will be the first study in the world to provide vital data on the impact of a third dose on patients’ immune responses.

It will give scientists from around the world and the experts behind the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme a better idea of how effective a booster of each vaccine is in protecting the individual from the virus.

The trial will look at seven different COVID-19 vaccines (including the Phizer/BionTech, Moderna and Valneva vaccines) as potential boosters, given at least 10 to 12 weeks after a second dose as part of the ongoing vaccination programme. One booster will be provided to each volunteer and could be a different brand to the one they were originally vaccinated with.

Anyone interested in participating can find out more by signing up to the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry. Participants will be adults aged 30 years or older and will include those immunised early on in the vaccination programme - for example, adults aged 75 and over or health and care workers.

All the trial sites are working on ways of including people in research from a wide variety of backgrounds and individuals from ethnic minorities are encouraged to apply.

The initial results, expected in September, will help inform decisions by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on any potential booster programme from autumn this year, ensuring the country’s most vulnerable are given the strongest possible protection over the winter period.

Prof. Krishna Chatterjee, Director of NIHR Clinical Research Facility in Cambridge, who will be leading the trial at CUH, said:

“Following the exemplary work our Cambridgeshire teams have already carried out to find effective vaccines for COVID-19, we are excited to now be able to offer the chance to take part in this next, vital study to people in the region. We hope as many volunteers as possible who are over the age of 30 and who’ve already received two doses of a vaccine will join us in this important research.”

Dr Helen Macdonald, Chief Operating Officer for the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network in the Eastern region, said:

“The launch of this clinical trial, testing the effects of a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine, offers a chance to reflect on how far our UK research community has come over the past year. Our NIHR colleagues have been instrumental in the progress that’s been made, but we couldn’t have reached this point without the people who volunteer to help by taking part in research. We hope as many people as possible will take the opportunity to help support this research too.”