Teesside Novavax trial participant welcomes top up doses

08/10/21 - Novavax jab in arm - Novavax
Credit: Novavax

A volunteer from Teesside who took part in trials of the Novavax COVID vaccine has welcomed news that participants will be offered additional jabs.

Annette Hurndall is among more than fifteen thousand people across the UK who joined the research last year. She took part in the North East arm of the trial, based at the University Hospital of Hartlepool. 

Almost a year on and the vaccine is still not authorised for general use. As a result, participants said they had been left in limbo - unable to travel abroad as the vaccine is not recognised in most other countries. 

Now, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced that vaccine trial participants will be offered two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab - with an eight week interval between them - starting with those involved in the Novavax research.

In addition, participants in eligible groups will be able to receive the booster, or top-up vaccine. This was a particular concern to Annette Hurndall. who described the announcement as an end to the frustration of recent months. 

The government said the decision has been developed in consultation with independent experts on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, or JCVI, and the chief investigators on the trials. 

"I very much welcome this development on behalf of more than 15,000 participants in the Novavax trial and my colleagues in the 35 UK trial sites.

Earlier this month, Novavax told me it is working 'day and night' to complete its submissions to the regulatory authorities in the UK and elsewhere. 

The announcement has also been welcomed by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust. It said:

“We understand this has been a concerning time for all of our participants. Now we have this guidance that participants can receive an approved vaccine, this is very good news.

It says it will be in contact with participants shortly to support them in the next steps.