Following successful UK-wide trials, the Novavax COVID vaccine has been approved by the UK regulator for use in people over the age of 18. Throughout the last year, the Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds has been hosting clinics for the 5,000 local trial volunteers who represent the largest cohort of volunteers recruited anywhere in the country.
The Thackray Museum of Medicine, who were a finalist for Art Fund’s Museum of the Year 2021 and received a £15,000 prize, re-opened in July 2021 after a £4.1 million redevelopment project with the aim to inspire the local community and visitors with the story of medicine..
Clinical trials suggest two doses of the Novavax jab have an efficacy of about 90% against symptomatic Covid, similar to the other approved UK vaccines. A recent study by Novavax suggests its protection holds up much better against Omicron than most other vaccines, raising the prospect that it may be able to provide broader protection across variants in future.
Despite facing enforced public closure for much of the pandemic, the Thackray Museum of Medicine sought wherever it could to support the effort against COVID and find ways that its examples of human ingenuity and triumphs against disease in the past could help inspire action in the present. As well as hosting 15,000 clinical appointments for vaccine trial volunteers, the museum accommodated vaccination of over 50,000 NHS workers and front line carers when it became the first museum in the world to transform into a vaccination hub.
Commenting on the news of the Novavax vaccine’s approval by the UK regulator and the museum’s part in the trials, Thackray CEO Nat Edwards said; “The people of Leeds, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trusts and the University of Leeds played a massive part in a team effort to deliver these trials to some of the most “at risk” individuals during the pandemic. We are immensely proud of the part that Thackray played in both the vaccine rollout programme and the Novavax trials and we are delighted that the UK regulator has now approved the vaccine for use. When COVID-19 is a thing of the past, I would like to think that the city of Leeds will go down as part of the story of its elimination and will be showcased in our museum to remind future generations of what can be achieved through working together”