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Novavax vaccine volunteer says he was used as 'fodder' for trial after restrictions come to light

A man who took part in Novavax covid vaccine trials earlier this year says he "wouldn't choose" to do the trial again after finding out EU travel is restricted for those who took it.

Damian Reynolds is one of thousands who took part in the trials for the Novavax coronavirus jab in April.

One of the main centres for trial in Norfolk was the QEH in Lynn.

Lisa Austin took part in the Novavax vaccine clinical trials last October. Picture: Ian Burt. (44195016)
Lisa Austin took part in the Novavax vaccine clinical trials last October. Picture: Ian Burt. (44195016)

The QEH played an instrumental role in the study of the Novavax vaccine (NVX-CoV2373) which is said to have efficacy of 89.7 per cent against coronavirus.

However, despite successes Novavax, has been struggling to bring its protein based vaccine to market.

The Maryland based company announced a setback last Thursday in its quest for an emergency use authorization in the United States, sending its share prices tumbling.

Administering the coronavirus vaccine (49576484)
Administering the coronavirus vaccine (49576484)

This setback has left trial volunteers in the lurch, including Mr Reynolds, who said he feels like little more than "fodder".

Mr Reynolds said: "We asked during the trial if this would have an effect on our freedoms, and we were assured that it wouldn't.

"However I've been told that I will have to self-isolate if I travel out of the country as Novavax has experienced setbacks with manufacturing it hasn't been fully approved.

"I feel like we are little more than fodder. If I had known the impact of the jab I would have just chosen to get one of the other ones when the time was right.

"I've spoken to my GP and he refuses to give me another brand of vaccine as that may give me a full-covid response.

"I feel from an ethical perspective the volunteers have been damaged as we can't enjoy the same freedoms as everybody else."

Mr Reynolds has a trip booked to Poland and has been told to quarantine upon arrival due to his vaccine status.

He said: "I've been told to isolate for seven days.... the trip is seven days so what's the point in going?"

The study was conducted at 33 sites across the UK, including Norfolk, with 27 per cent of the 15,000 participants being aged 65 and over, and 44 per cent having co-existing illnesses.

Dr Christopher Jeanes, consultant microbiologist and infection control doctor at QEH, said: “On behalf of myself and my co-PI Professor Jeremy Turner, at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, we have been extremely proud to lead the delivery of this trial locally."

"The vaccine research programme has been an immense combined effort on behalf of the participants and it has been a large team and a system-wide effort across Norfolk and Waveney including the acute hospitals, primary care, community care and the National Institute for Health Research”.

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