Vaccine Trials Face Diversity Issues
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As American companies race to create an effective COVID-19 vaccine, they’re facing skepticism from minority communities, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).
The problem: This reluctance makes it especially difficult to create diverse clinical trials that gauge whether the vaccines work safely. Public health officials say that vaccines need to be shown to work safely and effectively across all ages, races and backgrounds, and especially among the high-risk. Black and Brown Americans have been impacted disproportionately by the virus—and without their participation, an effective vaccine may face longer odds.
The solution: Companies and researchers are working with churches, minority physicians, radio programs and other media sources for communities—not to mention recruiting in places with high minority populations.
The bigger picture: Clinical trials in general suffer from a shortage of minority participants. Only 9% of participants in clinical trials for new drugs last year were Black, while whites made up around three quarters of participants, according to the FDA.
- The good news: Many pharma companies recognize the problem and are working to increase the diversity of their trials—including Amgen Inc., Genetech Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company, to cite just a few.