The first participants have been recruited to a new COVID-19 vaccination trial which has launched in Bradford.
Helen Bousfield, a medical secretary at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and her 12 year-old daughter, Evie, were the first to volunteer for the NextCOVE study, which is being run at the Trust’s Patient Recruitment Centre (PRC).This latest COVID-19 vaccine trial is looking at how effective a smaller, booster dose of Moderna vaccine is in offering protection against COVID-19 infection.
Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Anil Shenoy is leading the study which is aiming to recruit a minimum of 70 participants – at least 20 young participants from aged 12 to 18 and at least 50 adults aged 18 to 60 plus. Participants from the younger age group in particular are now being urged to come forward.
Dr Shenoy said: “We’re really excited to be running this trial here at the PRC because we know that vaccinations do work and they can make a big difference to adults as well as children.
“Whilst COVID has not been as severe as it’s been in the past, we know vaccinations prevent people from getting unwell. This is a COVID vaccination study that is using a smaller dose than that which has been used in the past. I would encourage adults and children aged over 12 years to take part in this trial.”
He added that all participants, both adults and children, must have had at least one COVID vaccination previously in order to join the study. This did not need to have been a Moderna vaccine; it could be any of the COVID vaccinations.
“What we are trying to determine is whether, by using a smaller dose of vaccine to the original COVID vaccines, the antibody response is the same, i.e. will the booster offer people the same level of protection against the virus, and is the booster just as effective?
“The type of vaccine differs from previous COVID vaccines in that it has a longer shelf life, it does not need to be refrigerated, it can be kept at room temperature making it much simpler to administer.”
Dr Shenoy explained that trial participants, after receiving the booster, would then be reviewed after one month, three months, six months and then finally a year to check on their antibodies or possible side effects.
He explained that the ultimate aim of the study was to help develop an annual COVID booster vaccination which could potentially be rolled out in the autumn or winter of 2024.
“If the booster dose is found to be effective in protecting us against the virus, the plan is to give it every year to anyone aged 12 and above, just as we do with the flu jab.”
He urged people to come forward and take part in the trial in order to help protect themselves as well as others.
“I understand that there will be people who feel they have had enough COVID vaccinations and that the virus is no longer a threat but it’s vitally important we continue with our research into this as the virus has not gone away.
“It is evolving all the time and we don’t know what COVID will look like in the winter of 2023/24 and beyond that for example. It can still be a threat to many people who are vulnerable, there are many people still at risk of the virus being very debilitating for them and causing severe illness. Developing an effective booster is the way forward in protecting ourselves,” he said.
Trial participant Helen Bousfield said: “I think the study is really important to continue to produce vaccines. Obviously COVID was an absolute horrendous time for everybody. Whether it’s COVID or other things, it’s really important to continue to work on vaccines.
“I was reassured by Dr Shenoy regarding the minimal risks associated with the trial and after reading through the paperwork, I was happy to take part with Evie. Hopefully us taking part will go on to help lots of other people in the future”.
Anyone who wishes to take part in the trial, should contact: 01274 383383 or email PRC.Bradford@bthft.nhs.uk
To join the City of Research – Research As One registry and be contacted for other opportunities to participate in research, please sign up here: https://cityofresearch.org/click-to-join/
For more information on the Patient Recruitment Centre in Bradford, check out the website here: https://local.nihr.ac.uk/prc/bradford/