New NHS service enables people to sign up to be contacted for COVID-19 vaccine studies

28 July 2020

Earlier this month, the NHS launched a service helping people across the UK sign up for information on vaccine trials for COVID-19.

Developed nationally, the NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry will help large numbers of people be recruited into the trials over the coming months, potentially leading to an effective vaccine being identified and made available to the UK public.

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.

Dr Christopher Green, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at UHB and Clinical Research Lead for Infection for West Midlands NIHR, said: “This registry will really help us in the fight against COVID-19, helping researchers to quickly match willing volunteers to suitable vaccine trials.

“By improving and streamlining recruitment into vaccine research, the registry has the potential to deliver huge benefits to everyone living in the UK and around the world.

“Anyone who gives their permission to be contacted will be the first to be given the chance to take part in the latest COVID-19 vaccine trials. Anyone who is contacted is of course free to say yes or no to taking part after learning more about each trial – and anyone who registers can also remove their contact details at any time.

“It is, however, important to highlight that taking part could help us find an effective vaccine against COVID-19 more quickly, helping bring an end to the pandemic for us all.”

There are a number of vaccines being identified and safety-tested at the moment, but only large scale trials can give scientists the information needed about how effective they are. The registry aims to recruit more than 500,000 people.

Jo Plumb, Deputy Director of Research, Development and Innovation at UHB, added: “At UHB, we are committed to delivering vaccine trials, to protect our patients and staff and have been the lead NHS organisation in the West Midlands for recruitment to the Oxford vaccine trial.

“Expressions of interest are welcome from anyone aged 18 or over as volunteers to safely test vaccines to ensure that they will work for everyone.

To register, people fill in some personal and contact details, and answer a series of basic health screening questions. People registering their details through the service are not signing up to take part in a specific trial or study. Instead, researchers working on vaccine studies supported by the NIHR will be able to search for volunteers who have signed up and would like to know about new vaccine studies opening to recruitment.

When a suitable potential volunteer has been identified, the researchers will send an email or text to anyone who matches the criteria for their study. This will provide more information about the study – and offer the individual the opportunity to contact the research team and find out more, or express an interest to take part.

To find out more or register interest in joining the registry, visit: www.nhs.uk/researchcontact