Professor Phil Kalra

Research offers vaccine chance to younger people

Researchers are inviting local residents who have not yet been vaccinated to get involved in an important Covid-19 vaccine study that could add another effective option to the UK’s coronavirus protection.

While people aged over 50 and health and social care staff have already been invited for their vaccines, many people in the community are yet to be given a date for their jabs. This includes many people in public-facing work roles.

The study led by experts at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA) offers the chance to be given a vaccine between 13 and 16 May at Oldham Leisure Centre, followed by a second dose four weeks later. The Northern Care Alliance incorporates Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and provides hospital and community healthcare services in Salford, Oldham, Bury and Rochdale.

Those who take part will either be given two doses of Valneva’s investigational vaccine or the AstraZeneca vaccine that is already being rolled out UK-wide. Those aged under 30 will only be given the Valneva vaccine.

The Valneva vaccine contains an inactivated version of the coronavirus which cannot cause disease, but should teach the body’s immune system how to fight it.

The specialty vaccine company has already agreed to provide Britain with 60 million doses once the vaccine has been approved for use by MHRA. It is the fifth vaccine supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to enter clinical trials in the UK.

People who take part in the study will have five further appointments to assess whether they have antibodies against Covid-19 and to capture any potential side effects after the vaccination, but will be compensated for their time and travel costs.

The NCA’s Director of Research, Professor Phil Kalra, said: “The NHS vaccine roll-out has been really impressive and it has been wonderful to see older people and health and social care staff being given the protection of the approved Covid-19 vaccines.

“But we know that more vaccines are needed, now and in the future as the virus mutates. Everyone who takes part in this study will receive either the Valneva or the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

“Valneva’s vaccine is the type known as an inactivated whole virus vaccine. These vaccines contain viruses whose genetic material has been destroyed so they cannot infect cells and replicate but can still trigger an immune response. This type of vaccine is well-established and has been used in seasonal influenza, hepatitis A, polio and rabies vaccines.”

The study is looking for participants aged over 18 who have not already been vaccinated. You can register to find out more at

Professor Kalra, who is also lead doctor for the study at the NCA, added: “We are hugely grateful to the nearly 600 people who have already taken part in our previous vaccine and antibody studies in the community. They have told us that they have felt very well looked after and that they have enjoyed having the chance to contribute to the fightback against Covid-19.

“Anyone who gets involved in this latest study will be helping the NHS in its continuing drive to protect our communities from Covid-19.”

There is more information about the study at

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