Hundreds of Scots are being urged to take part in a Covid-19 vaccine trial.

From Monday, NHS Tayside and the University of Dundee will initiate the second Phase 3 clinical trial of a vaccine candidate developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Around 400 volunteers will receive two injections of the trial vaccine within a two-month period.

If the trial is successful, it could play a "pivotal" role in reducing virus rates worldwide.

HeraldScotland:

Professor Jacob George from the University of Dundee’s School of Medicine and R&D Director for NHS Tayside, said, “It is a real testament to the R&D capability of the University and NHS Tayside to be selected to lead this trial in Scotland on behalf of Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

“Here we have the expertise and dedication to determine the efficacy of a vaccine that has the potential to help return the world to some semblance of normality again, but we cannot do this without the help of the public.

“While there has been some encouraging news this week about the development of a vaccine, it is widely acknowledged that we will need multiple vaccines if we are to bring this virus under control. This trial, therefore, is critically important and we are calling on people across Tayside and Fife to help us to potentially bring an end to this pandemic.”

The vaccinations will take place at the Clinical Research Centre at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital, with follow-up visits taking place at either the Ninewells CRC or the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

What has the Scottish Government said?

Dr Gregor Smith, interim Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, said, “This is the third vaccine trial to open in Scotland and is part of a portfolio of research studies to better understand the virus and drive progress in finding effective treatments, diagnostics and vaccines.

“Whilst recent developments on a potential vaccine are encouraging; we must make sure other clinical trials into Covid-19 vaccines and treatments continue.

“NHS Tayside, along with other sites across the UK, will be participating in the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine study using volunteers recruited through the NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry. The ongoing commitment of research teams and participants, and the coordinated response to these studies via NHS Research Scotland is vital to drive further progress.”

HeraldScotland:

How can I apply to take part?

People interested in volunteering can contact the research team via email at TAY.ensemble2@nhs.scot

What do we know so far about vaccines?

Last week, drugs manufacturer Pfizer revealed that its Covid-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing the virus.

Nicola Sturgeon said that while there are “no guarantees yet”, she hopes people will start receiving the vaccine before the end of this year, or “certainly very early next year”.

The UK Government has secured access to 40 million doses with 10 million set to become available, with the NHS and armed forces on standby to help roll it out.

Who is on the priority list?

According to the Scottish Government, vaccination policy north of the border “is based on the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)”.

The independent panel has recently outlined “preliminary” information of a priority list.

According to the Scottish Government, vaccination policy north of the border “is based on the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)”.

The independent panel has recently outlined “preliminary” information of a priority list:

1.            older adults’ resident in a care home and care home workers

2.            all those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers

3.            all those 75 years of age and over

4.            all those 70 years of age and over

5.            all those 65 years of age and over

6.            high-risk adults under 65 years of age

7.            moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age

8.            all those 60 years of age and over

9.            all those 55 years of age and over

10.          all those 50 years of age and over

11.          rest of the population (priority to be determined)