Why have I been invited to take part?
We are inviting you to take part in this study as you:
- Are aged 16 or over
- Live and work in the UK
- Are a healthcare worker or work in a healthcare setting in Leicester or the surrounding area
Note: You do not need to look after patients directly.
We welcome people from all communities to join the study. Minority ethnic and migrant communities have had higher rates of COVID-19 hospital admissions, and we encourage people from these communities to consider taking part.
You do not need to have had COVID-19 infection or vaccination to join the study – it is important for us to include people who have and have not been infected or vaccinated.
You do not need to look after patients directly to join the study.
What will happen if I decide to take part?
We will ask you to:
- Provide consent to participate in the study if you are happy to do so.
- Register your details (including contact details and date of birth) and provide your consent online on our secure web page.
- Complete a questionnaire, which will take around 15 minutes. We will ask some basic information about you, your ethnicity, plus whether or not you think you may have had COVID-19 or been vaccinated against it, other aspects of your physical health, occupation and working life, home environment and living circumstances.
- A trained member of the research team will then collect some blood samples that we will use to examine elements of your immune system. In total, approximately 45ml of blood will be taken (around 3 tablespoons worth).
- We will ask you to complete monthly online questionnaires which will be much shorter than the baseline questionnaire and will ask about COVID-19 symptoms, testing and vaccination.
- 6 months after your baseline blood tests we will contact you to arrange to collect a further set of blood tests which will tell us how your immune responses have changed over time. We will collect slightly less blood at this visit.
- We would like for you to contact us or for you to give us permission to contact you to arrange collection of a further blood sample if you develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within the timeframe of this study. However, this is optional and you can indicate on your consent form if you do not want to take part in this aspect of the study.
- With your permission, we will periodically link to your electronic health records for up to 25 years. This will be done in the NHS and your information will remain anonymous to the research team.
- We will also ask for your consent to link to COVID-19 related outcomes in your occupational health record (this will include COVID-19 related absences from work, COVID-19 swab results and COVID-19 antibody results). Your occupational health record will not be accessed by researchers, instead this information will be provided by the occupational health department and only COVID-19 related information contained within this record will be provided.
Registration for DIRECT is now closed. Thank you for your interest in the project.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in your participation in UK-REACH or are looking for information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) please visit: