A clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine is aiming to recruit 350 volunteers from Northern Ireland.
Health Minister Robin Swann announced on Monday that Northern Ireland had been chosen as one of the regions to take part in the major UK trial.
Almost 5,000 people have signed up to the vaccine registry in Northern Ireland.
But Mr Swann appealed for more volunteers for the trial, which is due to start up by the end of this week.
“The importance of finding a vaccine to help in the battle against this virus cannot be overstated,” he said.
“I am delighted that the public in Northern Ireland will have the opportunity to take part in this important trial which has the potential to discover a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19.
“Currently there are over 30 vaccine trials taking place around the world in an effort to discover as soon as possible which will be safe and effective.
“It is vital that Northern Ireland joins this important world-wide effort.”
According to the Department of Health, the trial will aim to recruit adults from all parts of society, especially those who are more likely to benefit from a vaccine, including over-65s, the black and minority ethnic (BAME) community and those whose jobs require face-to-face contact with the public.
The trial is being run by Novavax and will be be supported by the Public Health Agency.
Dr Janice Bailey, of the Public Health Agency, said Covid-19 vaccine trials were essential to identify which vaccines were both “safe and effective”.
“There are different types of vaccines, and we don’t know which one will work best to protect people from catching Covid-19,” said Dr Bailey.
“It might be that different vaccines are needed for different groups of people, and it’s only through vaccine trials we will find this out.”
The trial will take place in various sites across the UK, with the first participants from Northern Ireland expected to be recruited at the beginning of October.
The participants will be selected from the UK vaccine registry, which was set up in July.
Those signed up to the registry will be invited to undergo an assessment to determine whether or not they are eligible for the trial.