A Covid-19 vaccine which was trialled with the help of hundreds of volunteers in Norfolk has been approved for use in the United Kingdom.

The Novavax vaccine has been authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)

It follows rigorous clinical trials and analysis of the data, with the MHRA concluding it has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

More than 500 volunteers took part in the testing of the vaccine at the Quadram Institute at Norwich Research Park in a clinical research facility run by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Staff from the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston and research nurses from the National Institute for Health Research's Clinical Research Network Eastern and clinical commissioning groups helped run the study.

Claire, a carer from Norwich, took part in the Novavax trial last year, and was surprised to find she received the real vaccine and not the placebo - a harmless fluid which looks the same as the vaccine but has no effects.

She said: "I had absolutely no side effects from having either of the two doses of the vaccine so assumed I’d had the placebo, particularly because I’d seen lots of my friends have side effects from the approved vaccines.

“I’m just glad I could do my bit to help, especially because I know how much Covid has affected so many people. I’d definitely think about taking part in research again, it’s so important."

Professor Jeremy Turner, clinical director for the NIHR’s CRN Eastern and a consultant endocrinologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital was in charge of the city's Novavax trial.

He said: "We are immensely grateful to the participants in the study who so generously gave up their time to be involved.

"We are also hugely grateful to the other people who put themselves forward for inclusion in the study but who, for a range of reasons were, unfortunately, not able to participate in the study."

The NIHR-supported Novavax study, led by researchers at St George’s, University of London, found the vaccine was 89.7pc effective at preventing Covid-19, prior to the Omicron variant emerging.