COVID-19 vaccine trial begins in Leeds

Health news

Hundreds of volunteers from the region are taking part in a study to test the effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The trial, overseen by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will test the safety and effectiveness of a new vaccine developed by US biotechnology company Novavax.

Over the next six weeks, more than 600 people who have signed up to the NHS Vaccine Registry are expected to take part in the study, which is being partly-hosted at The Edge, the University of Leeds’ sports centre.

Chris Twelves is Professor of Clinical Cancer Pharmacology and Oncology at the University’s School of Medicine and Director of the NIHR Leeds Clinical Research Facility at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust. He said: “This vaccine trial in Leeds was only possible because of the hard work and dedication from the Leeds, Harrogate and York city-wide multidisciplinary COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Delivery Team.”

The trial is part of a wider phase three study that will involve thousands of people, giving researchers insights into the effects of a vaccine in a large population, half of whom will receive the vaccine and half a “dummy” injection. 

With several more studies for potential vaccines expected to start before the end of the year, UK researchers are calling for additional volunteers to sign up to take part in research.

To better understand the effectiveness of the vaccine on the wider population, and to help find a vaccine that works for as many people as soon as possible, researchers are seeking more volunteers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds as well as those with underlying health conditions and the over-65s.

Only by working together will we be able find an effective vaccine which will help us to control COVID-19.


The volunteers are being recruited by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, alongside its partners Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Leeds GP Confederation and Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Phil Wood, Chief Medical Officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “The city’s enthusiasm to take part in research during the pandemic has been amazing.

“Only by working together will we be able find an effective vaccine which will help us to control COVID-19.

“To help our researchers find the best vaccine for our community, please sign up by visiting the NHS Vaccine registry website.” 

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council added: “I’m delighted that Leeds is playing its part in this global ambition to fight coronavirus.

“A vaccine is the only guarantee to keep people safe from this devastating disease. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone in Leeds who has already signed up to this significant trial and would urge others to register if they are able to do so.”

More information about COVID-19 vaccine research is available at the NHS website.

Further information

Picture by Pexels, credit Gustavo Fring

Launched on 20 July, the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry is an online service allowing members of the public to register their interest in Covid-19 vaccine studies and be contacted to participate in future clinical trials.

Vaccines are tested in stages to ensure they are safe and effective. Volunteers who are contacted to take part in trials will be given information about what stage a particular vaccine is at and details of how it has already been tested. They will be able to consider this when deciding to take part and people can withdraw from the registry at any point.

The Registry has been developed by the government, in partnership with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), NHS Digital, the Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Northern Ireland Executive.

For further details, contact University of Leeds press officer Ian Rosser at