Press Release

Covid-19 vaccine study passes 10,000 mark

Published on 15 March 2021

More than 10,000 volunteers have signed up for a new UK-wide study run by the University of Dundee which is monitoring all Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in the country.

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Pic of Dr Amy Rogers

More than 10,000 volunteers have signed up for a new UK-wide study run by the University of Dundee which is monitoring all Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in the country.

VAC4COVID was launched by the University’s Medicines Monitoring Unit (MEMO Research) to help ensure vaccines work as they should, and 11,356 participants have registered to take part since the project went live last month. Anyone over the age of 18 can sign up before or after Covid-19 vaccination and provide information about their health and wellbeing from the comfort of their own home.

Comedian, actor, writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry is among those who have got behind VAC4COVID. The two-time Rector of the University retweeted information about VAC4COVID to his 12.6 million followers in order to encourage as many as possible to sign up.

All vaccines must meet rigorous quality, safety, and efficacy standards before being approved but, as with any new medicines or treatments, ongoing research is needed to monitor vaccinations once they are used in the wider population. It is important that these studies report any side-effects or lack of effectiveness signals in real-time, so that prompt action can be taken. MEMO Research will work closely with vaccine regulators to inform them of any findings.

“We are delighted that more than 10,000 people have now signed up for VAC4COVID and are helping to support public confidence in Covid-19 vaccines,” said Dr Amy Rogers of MEMO Research. “Vaccines are crucial for combating Covid-19, but scientists and doctors still need to understand post-vaccination health experiences.

“We still need many thousands more people to sign up to detect if there are any unexpected, rare conditions linked to vaccination. People experience new medical conditions all the time, whether they have been vaccinated or not. The challenge for medicines regulators is to know how many are related to vaccination and how many would have happened anyway. For this reason, we want to be able to track medical events both before and after vaccination, as well as in unvaccinated people.”

Participants will be asked to provide information about their health before and after vaccination and to report diagnoses and symptoms that occur afterwards. Those who sign-up will be contacted at regular intervals before and after vaccination to check on their health.

The MEMO Research team will contact participants’ doctors and review their medical notes if they report concerning symptoms or diagnoses. This will allow them to confirm possible side-effects and maintain the quality of the study.

Even people who do not plan to get vaccinated are encouraged to take part to enable researchers to gauge whether medical conditions are coincidental or a result of the vaccination.

The MEMO Research team has many years’ experience of post-marketing surveillance of vaccines, including monitoring the safety of the new vaccines for swine flu during the 2009 pandemic.

Anyone interested in taking part in the study can sign up at http://www.vac4covid.com/.

Notes to editors

MEMO Research

The Medicines Monitoring Unit (MEMO Research) is an academic research unit based in Ninewells Hospital, University of Dundee, UK renowned for delivering clinician-led observational studies and streamlined clinical trials for over 20 years. Led by Professor Thomas MacDonald (Director) and Professor Isla Mackenzie (Deputy Director), MEMO Research specialises in creating novel research designs to answer challenging research questions with particular expertise in remote clinical trials involving large numbers of participants. Visit https://www.memoresearch.com/

Enquiries

Grant Hill

Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 384768

G.Hill@dundee.ac.uk