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Over 250,000 volunteers now registered for new COVID-19 vaccine trials as recruitment begins for Novavax study

Over 250,000 volunteers now registered for new COVID-19 vaccine trials as recruitment begins for Novavax study

25th September 2020

Ten thousand UK volunteers have been invited to join the world’s first phase three COVID-19 vaccine study to test the effectiveness of the new Novavax COVID-19 vaccine

This comes as the number of people in the UK who have signed up to take part in COVID-19 research through the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry hits 250,000.  

Participants aged between 18-85 years will help test the safety and effectiveness of a new COVID-19 vaccine, developed by US biotechnology company Novavax, at a number of sites across the UK, including Lancashire, the Midlands, Greater Manchester, London, Glasgow and Belfast.

The Novavax trials are Phase 3, a large trial focusing on the vaccine’s effectiveness, with further checks on safety in a larger population. This followed earlier, smaller studies (phase 1 and phase 2) that reported positive results, and which focused on safety and whether there were signs the vaccine could work.

The Novavax trials are the second to commence in the UK, following AstraZeneca phase 3 trials at University of Oxford. Participants for the Phase 3 trial will be drawn from the NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry.

The registry was launched in July to help create a database of people who consent to be contacted by the NHS to take part in clinical studies with the aim to help speed up the development of a safe and effective vaccine against coronavirus. It 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.

With several more studies for potential vaccine candidates expected to start before the end of the year, UK researchers are particularly encouraging additional volunteers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, and people with underlying health conditions and the over 65s, to be part of vaccine research so that any vaccines developed will work for as many people as possible.

Dr Gregor Smith, Interim Chief Medical Officer commented: “We are pleased that over 21,000 people in Scotland have signed up since the UK NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry was launched a couple of months ago. This registry is helping researchers more easily identify and get in touch with people who are interested in participating in these important studies. We encourage people who would like to help Scottish medical researchers contribute to COVID-19 vaccine research to consider signing up. 

“We are also pleased that NHS Grampian and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde are participating along with other sites in the UK in the trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax with volunteers to this trial being recruited using the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry."

Professor Paul Heath, Novavax Phase 3 trial Chief Investigator and Professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is only the second Phase 3 vaccine study to be initiated in the UK, and the first Phase 3 study with the Novavax vaccine anywhere in the world, which shows the importance that has been placed on rapidly finding a solution for this urgent public health need. The vaccine has successfully gone through its early safety trials and we’re extremely encouraged by its performance so far.

“The NHS Vaccines Registry has been key in helping us quickly identify participants who fulfil the inclusion criteria for this study – particularly those from among groups most likely to benefit from a vaccine, such as the elderly.”

If any of the vaccines are successful in clinical studies, they could start to be delivered to the UK in 2021. It is expected that these vaccines would first be given to priority groups such as frontline health and social care workers, ethnic minorities, adults with underlying health conditions, and the elderly based on JCVI advice.

To find out about volunteering for clinical studies, visit More information about taking part in research and other opportunities to take part in COVID-19 research can be found at

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