The first COVID-19 vaccine trial in Greater Manchester is now under way, with over 500 people from Stockport, Tameside and East Chesire taking part in the hope that an effective vaccine for coronavirus can be found as soon as possible.
Thousands of people across Greater Manchester have already signed up, but more volunteers are urgently needed ahead of further trials starting across the area this winter.
Anyone over the age of 18 can register an interest by signing up to the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry.
Residents across the whole of Greater Manchester are being encouraged to get involved, and it takes only five minutes to sign-up by providing your contact details and answering basic health screening questions.
By doing so, you will join a database of volunteers who agree to be contacted by NHS researchers when a suitable trial is happening near you.
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.
Signing up does not commit you to being part of a trial – you can say ‘no’ at any stage and request that your details be removed from the COVID-19 vaccine research registry.
Stephen, 39, of Edgeley, Stockport, is taking part in the first COVID-19 vaccine trial to come to Greater Manchester.
“I’ve never taken part in research before, but I wanted to get involved in this trial because of the situation with COVID-19,” he said.
“I’ve got a few friends and family who have not really left the house since the beginning of the pandemic, so I just thought the sooner we can get back to some variation of normal, the better, and a vaccine could help with that.
“On the day of my first appointment, I was given detailed information at every stage about what the trial involves and why it is taking place.
“A doctor then did some thorough measurements and checks with me before I was given either the vaccine that’s being trialled or a placebo.
“The nursing team was really thorough and talked me through exactly what the next steps will be as I continue through the trial.”
Professor Andy Ustianowski, an infectious diseases consultant at North Manchester General Hospital and NIHR Clinical Research Network national specialty lead for infection, says it’s important that more people from across Greater Manchester communities join the registry because they’re going to need large numbers of volunteers to help test the vaccines.
“We need a really good mix of people of different ages and ethnicities, and people with and without existing health problems,” he said.
“This will help identify vaccines that work for everyone.”
If you’d like to take part, you can sign up online to take part in the trials through the NHS, giving permission for researchers to contact you if they think you’re a good fit. Once you sign up, you can withdraw at any time.