Manchester MP Afzal Khan is backing an NHS campaign which allows people to receive information on COVID-19 vaccine studies they could take part in, and is encouraging Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) people to join him.
The NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry will help recruit thousands of people to trials, potentially leading to effective vaccines being identified and made available to the UK public earlier.
Mr Khan is joining the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in Greater Manchester in encouraging further local residents to join the 240,700 volunteers who have already signed up in the UK.
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, such as asthma. Having a condition does not exclude them from being considered for trials.
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.
People can sign up online at http://www.nhs.uk/researchcontact
The registry has been developed as part of the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce, in partnership with the NIHR, NHS Digital and the Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh Governments.
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 encouraged to sign up. These include over 65s, frontline workers and people from BAME communities.
Mr Khan has signed up and is encouraging constituents to consider doing so themselves – in particular those from BAME communities who traditionally have been under-represented in research participation. A survey published this week by the NIHR in Greater Manchester showed that almost 85 per cent of research participants in the city region identified as white.
Afzal Khan said, “Volunteering to be contacted by researchers to take part in COVID-19 vaccine research is a way we can be part of the fightback against the virus.
“It’s important that people from all backgrounds and ages, particularly from under-represented groups like Black or Asian people, to take part in vaccine studies. This will help make sure that any vaccines developed will work for everyone.
“I would urge everyone to consider signing-up if they feel comfortable to do so, as research is the only way to find out which vaccines will work in preventing people from getting COVID-19.”
Chief Executive of the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network Dr William van’t Hoff said, “I’m really grateful to the volunteers who have already signed up to the NHS vaccine registry. 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.”