PEOPLE in the Wee County are being urged by NHS Forth Valley to sign up for potential Covid-19 vaccine trials.

Residents in the area are being encouraged by health chiefs to sign up to the NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry, which is being developed by the UK Government's Vaccine Taskforce.

Those who put their names forward could be recruited into vaccine trials over the coming months and will be contacted by researchers if found to be suitable for a study - with no obligations to join in.

Dr Graham Foster, NHS Forth Valley's director of public health, said: "Researchers are looking for people from all parts of the UK, including both people with or without existing health conditions, to help make sure that any vaccines developed will work for everyone.

"I'd encourage anyone interested to sign up so that they can find out more and get involved in current and future vaccine trials."

The vaccine registry is available to anyone over the age of 18, living in the UK.

Those who do register are not signing up to take part in a specific trial or study.

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Instead, the registry allows researchers working on studies supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to search for volunteers who have signed up through the service.

If someone is found to be suitable for a study, researchers will send an email or text with information, offering the opportunity for people to contact the team and find out more, or indeed, express an interest in taking part.

The registry will allow large numbers of people to be recruited into upcoming trials in a bid to identify a vaccine that can protect against coronavirus.

John Nother, chief digital officer at the NIHR, said: "The new system will enable researchers to quickly identify and match suitable and willing volunteers to appropriate vaccine trials.

"In doing so, it will bring enormous benefits, not only to the NHS and health researchers, but to everyone living in the UK.

"Signing up and giving your permission to be contacted means you may be amongst the first to find out about opportunities to take part in trials and the latest, cutting-edge Covid-19 vaccines.

"There is no obligation to join in any study if you are contacted.

"But by taking part, you could help researchers find a vaccine to protect us all more quickly - which in turn could help the NHS and save lives."