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Data from Stockport NHS research team supports new UK COVID-19 Booster programme

27 Sep 2021 - Press Release

Data drawn from research carried out by Stockport NHS Foundation Trust’s research and innovation team has helped shape the COVID-19 vaccine booster programme now being delivered to protect people nationwide. 

The government recently announced the rollout of a third vaccine dose to those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

The decision followed advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), based on early data from the COV-BOOST trial.

COV-BOOST, the world’s first trial to provide vital data on the impact of a third dose on patients’ immune responses, was run at 18 sites across England, Scotland and Wales. It was backed by £19.3 million of government funding through the Vaccines Taskforce and supported by the National Vaccination Immunisation Evaluation Consortium (NISEC) funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Stepping Hill Hospital, where the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust research and innovation team are based, was among those sites. A total of 148 participants volunteered to be part of the study at Stockport. 

This included 74 healthcare workers and 74 members of the public, with a focus on those aged 75 years and older in the latter group. The Cheadle Hulme Medical Group and Research for the Future team based at Salford, assisted the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust’s research and innovation team in recruiting the volunteers.

The COV-BOOST trial studied the use of seven different COVID-19 vaccines when given as a third booster’ dose, including three of them also as a half dose.

Initial data made available to the JCVI indicates that booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines are generally well tolerated and provide a substantial increase in vaccine-induced immune responses.

Based on COV-BOOST data, the JCVI advised a preference for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the booster programme, regardless of which vaccine brand someone received for their primary doses.

Alternatively, a half dose of the Moderna vaccine may be offered. Where these vaccines, known as mRNA vaccines, cannot be offered, for example due to allergies, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine may be considered for those who received it previously.

Professor Andrew Ustianowski is the Deputy Clinical Director for NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester and the NIHR Clinical Lead for COVID-19 Vaccination Programme. He said: “The important data provided to the JCVI could not have been made possible without the efforts and altruism of the research participants taking part in various booster studies across the UK. We are very grateful to the huge number of volunteers and research staff across the UK who are helping to provide key study data which informs these important decisions.”

Wiesia Woodyatt, Research and Innovation Manager for Stockport NHS Foundation Trust said “The COVID-19 booster programme appears set to be an important new line of defence in our ongoing struggle against the infection, and we are very proud our team has played a role in ensuring it is safe and effective for use with the public. I’d like to say a big thank you to all our volunteers who have helped this to happen.”

Wiesia Woodyatt, Research and Innovation Manager



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