Can you help researchers to monitor the safety and uptake of the vaccines against COVID-19 as they are being rolled out in the community by becoming a public involvement (PPI) representative?

Posted on: 24th February 2021

Researchers from the University of Oxford have asked the British Liver Trust if we are aware of any people who would be willing to take part in this important study.

What is the research project about?

COVID-19 has affected millions of people around the world and has had major consequences for people's health, work and lives. This made it important to quickly develop vaccines to help protect people against COVID-19.

Several vaccines have already been approved for use in the UK and are now being given in the general population.

These vaccines were shown to be safe in the trials that tested them before they were approved, but it is also really important to see how these vaccines work when they start being used in the real-world.

Monitoring vaccines in the real-world includes looking at how safe they are and what side effects happen when the vaccines are given. Researchers also want to look at how well the vaccines work in different groups of people, for example in older people, people with various illnesses and those from different ethnic backgrounds.

As well as how they work, another important thing to monitor is if there are differences in who is having the vaccine or not (vaccine uptake). It is important to monitor vaccine uptake, because if there are groups who are not having the vaccine, then this could cause inequalities in health. Knowing about these patterns helps make decisions about how we could help increase vaccine uptake

Using information in healthcare records is one way of seeing what happens when the vaccine is given in the real world. This includes looking at whether the vaccine protects people from getting COVID and whether there are symptoms recorded after that vaccine has been given that might suggest unexpected side effects.

General practice (GP) patient records contain the information needed to answer these questions quickly and on very large numbers of people. The QResearch database is available to researchers and contains information from millions of anonymised GP records (this means that individuals cannot be identified) so this database can be used to help answer these questions.

This project will assess uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines and monitor the safety of the new COVID-19 vaccines using the QResearch database.

What would getting involved mean for you?

Taking part would involve you working with researchers from the Primary Care Department from the University of Oxford by representing the public and their viewpoint.

You will be asked to attend two to three meetings between February 2021 and December 2021. The meetings will be about 1 hour long and will be held online on Zoom or MSteams. We will help you get Zoom or MS teams set up and working if you have not used it before. These meetings will be arranged on dates and times that are convenient for you.

We would like to hear your thoughts about our research questions, and what we are looking to study in this research project, to help us make sure our study is looking at important questions that matter to the public.

We would also ask whether you would review and comment on the study documents and also how we write about and explain the study findings.

What experience do you need?

You do not need any previous experience, just a willingness to attend meetings and to give your perspective. You do not need any special knowledge about vaccinations or health.

Ideally, we are looking for someone with an experience of living with long-term health conditions. If you would like to talk this through first, to find out more about what it might involve, please get in touch with researchers (see contact details below) and we will arrange to speak with you and go through any questions you might have.

Will you be paid for your time?

As a public involvement representative, you will be reimbursed for your time and any out-of-pocket expenses will be also be covered.

What next?

If you are interested in becoming a public involvement representative for the above project or have any questions, please email