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Appeal for new vaccine volunteers

Tuesday October 13th 2020

An appeal was launched today for minority groups to sign up to take part in the UK’s trials of COVID-19 vaccines.

Researchers also called for more over 65s and for more volunteers from vulnerable groups, such as those with chronic diseases.

So far 270,000 people have signed up for trials but just 1,200 volunteers are from African, Caribbean or black British backgrounds. Some 11,000 volunteers are from Asian backgrounds.

Dr Maheshi Ramasamy, leader of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: “We know that people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are disproportionately affected by COVID in terms of severe disease and mortality. So, when we do have a vaccine that we roll out to the general population, it’s really important that we can demonstrate to people from these communities that we have evidence that the vaccine works.”

Dr Anna Goodman from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, leader of the Novavax study, said: “Finding effective vaccines to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19) is key to our global efforts to control the spread of this disease. Having participants in our COVID-19 trials who come from a range of backgrounds gives us the best possible chance of ensuring the findings of trials apply to everyone.”

Kate Bingham, chair of the government vaccine taskforce, said: “The only way to check how well a coronavirus vaccine works is to carry out large-scale clinical trials involving thousands of people. Researchers need data from different communities and different people to improve understanding of the vaccines. The only way to get this is through large clinical trials.

“We want to ensure the data we get actually represents the different people from different backgrounds in the UK. This includes people who are over 65, frontline healthcare workers, or have existing health conditions, and we need people from the communities which have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds.”

Tags: Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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