Calls for BAME candidates to sign up for vaccine trials as they’re more at risk of COVID
Written by on 13 October 2020
People from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are being urged to sign up for coronavirus vaccine trials as they have been among the worst hit by the virus.
So far, 270,000 people have put their names on the NHS Vaccine Registry, which means scientists could contact them to take part in a trial.
But only 11,000 volunteers – 4% – are from Asian communities and just 1,200 – less than 0.5% – are from black, African and Caribbean backgrounds.
Officials are now calling on people from BAME communities to sign up to the vaccine registry, because an effective coronavirus vaccine needs to be trialled on all parts of the population – especially those that are more vulnerable.
Dr Maheshi Ramasamy, an infectious diseases and acute general medicine consultant who works for the Oxford Vaccine Group said: “We know that people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 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.”
Currently there are six different vaccines being trialled in the UK – including one led by the University of Oxford and Astrazeneca and another from the US biotech company Novavax.
Kemi Badenoch, minister for equalities, is volunteering for the Novavax trial at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.
She said: “With less than 0.5% of people on the NHS Vaccine Registry from a black background, we have a lot more work to do.
“That is why I am urging more people from the ethnic minority backgrounds to join me in signing up to the NHS Vaccine Registry and taking part in a trial. Together we can be part of the national effort to end this pandemic for good.”
Other groups who are also more vulnerable to COVID-19 – the over 65s and those with chronic illnesses – are also being encouraged to sign up.
The registry was set up in July to create a database of those willing to take part in clinical studies. It is part of the Vaccine Taskforce set up by the government in May.
For more information on how to take part, you can visit www.nhs.uk/researchcontact.