Colchester Primary Care Centre (PCC) assisted East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) as one of 35 sites across the UK used for the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial during 2020. The clinical trial data has shown the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine is 89.3% effective at preventing Covid-19, including effectiveness against the new variants.
The trial was organised by the research team at ESNEFT. The team vaccinated and monitored more than 150 volunteers who either had the vaccine or a placebo. Across the UK, the study enrolled more than 15,000 participants between 18-84 years of age, including 27% over the age of 65, within two months.
This is the first time a CHP has been able to assist a Covid-19 clinical trial. Observing how a vaccine clinical trial was set up enabled the local team to solve any logistical issues, enabling a smooth roll out as a vaccination centre for the public in Dec 2020. The team at Colchester PPC are now vaccinating about 2000 people in every five day session. There are more than 95 vaccination centres in CHP buildings across the country (26 Feb 2021).
“It is something to be really proud of that CHP has played a part in the trial of a new, potentially extremely effective vaccine,” said Dr Sue O’Connell, CHP CEO. “It demonstrates the flexibility and collaborative working with ESNEFT to be able to support this so quickly and effectively alongside setting up 95 vaccination sites across the country.”
Setting up and running clinical trials are extremely complex, involving input from clinicians, trial design experts, pharmacists, statisticians, and health economists among others. Dr Richard Smith, Clinical Director for Research (ESNEFT), said: “I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to make our participation in this trial a success. It is easily the most important thing I have been involved with – and there have been a few!
“We worked together to find the space so that participants could safely visit to take part in the trial, which is no mean feat during a pandemic. Everyone should be very proud of the part they have played.”
Professor Paul Heath, Novavax Phase 3 trial Chief Investigator at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London said:
“These are enormously exciting findings and show that this is a highly effective and safe Covid-19 vaccine – importantly it also shows that this is a vaccine that is effective against the UK variant that has spread so quickly. This wonderful news is a tribute to the over 15,000 volunteers in our trial and to the dedication of the UK investigators.”
Clive Dix, Chair, UK Vaccine Taskforce, said:
“These are spectacular results, and we are very pleased to have helped Novavax with the development of this vaccine. The efficacy shown against the emerging variants is also extremely encouraging. This is an incredible achievement that will ensure we can protect individuals in the UK and the rest of the world from this virus.”
The vaccine clinical study results have been passed to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MRHA); once it has passed safety, effectiveness and quality standards, production will begin.
Read more about the vaccine: www.nihr.ac.uk/news/novavax-covid-19-vaccine-893-effective