Yesterday the UK Government announced that they had secured early access to 90 million vaccine doses as part of its strategy to build a portfolio of vaccines to protect the UK against COVID-19. Alongside this announcement, they launched the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry.
The registry enables volunteers to sign up to be contacted about taking part in approved UK COVID-19 vaccine studies. Researchers on studies approved by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) will contact individuals on the registry with more information about their research.
We welcome the launch of this registry. Research to tackle COVID-19 should be a partnership between researchers and the public, and the public have a huge role to play. We believe patient and public involvement (PPI) is an absolutely crucial part of this, and indeed, any research. In our recent work on research in global health emergencies, we emphasise the importance of community engagement, and argue that research must begin with an understanding of the experiences and concerns of those affected, and that researchers must be accountable to those communities.
We are pleased to see the NIHR and the Health Research Authority (HRA) have both put PPI at the core of their COVID-19 research response. The HRA has launched a COVID-19 matching service that matches research teams with public involvement groups, networks, or individuals. The NIHR has written top tips for researchers carrying out PPI activities during COVID-19.