Vaccine Test Centre

Meet Liverpool’s Covid vaccine pioneers

The Covid-19 vaccine is big news at the moment – but did you know that Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine played a big role in the development of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine?

The world-famous site recruited thousands of the volunteers who took part in medical trials which eventually showed it was safe and effective.

In the latest Mersey Waves podcast, we meet three of the people involved in the process which led to it being approved.

The Doctor

Dr Hassan Burhan is a respiratory specialist who was on the management team of the trials. He also has first hand experience of treating people in hospital with Covid.

It is really, really important that people take the vaccine. This is safe. I know that from my research and clinical perspective. Any risks are perceived and nothing is completely without risk. But the risk of Covid is real and people are dying from it.

The Covid vaccine trials manager

Kelly Davies managed the clinical trials at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and oversaw the submission of the results to the medicines regulator.

I’ve really felt so proud to be involved in this study. It’s been tough. The reason why things happened so quickly is because people dedicated so much of their time working on these studies. My father in law was vaccinated last week and that was a bitter sweet moment for our family because unfortunately my mother in law passed away of Covid and she was unable to be vaccinated in time.

The volunteer

Sue Horley is a health visitor from Liverpool and was one of thousands of people who volunteered to take part in the trials. When unblinded, she discovered she had been given the placebo, but has since been vaccinated due to her job.

There were loads of tests beforehand to make sure you were suitable to be on the trial. When you went for your first vaccine, it was so well managed. We sat for half an hour afterwards and were monitored to make sure we were OK. I came out with little spring in my step…it just felt like the beginning of the end of all of this.

Listen to their full contribution to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or anywhere else you get your podcasts, just search for ‘Mersey Waves’.