More diversity needed for covid-19 vaccine trial in Charlotte

More diversity needed in COVID-19 vaccine trials

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Tryon Medical Group in Charlotte is one of 88 locations across the United States participating in Phase 3 of the covid-19 vaccine trial through Moderna.

So far they have about 400 participants, but they need more diversity in the trial.

The research team with Tryon Medical Partners was on a call with Doctor Fauci last week. He said that across the country the numbers of people of color volunteering for the trial are low.

They are now urging more people from diverse backgrounds to volunteer. The deadline is this Friday.

“What’s missing now from the study participant numbers are folks who are LatinX, black, American Indian and Asian," Dr. Ryan Shelton with Tryon Medical Partners said.

Coronavirus is hitting the LatinX community in Charlotte hard.

“A lot of the work that we do is part of the essential work that is necessary to keep the economy going," Jose Hernandez-Paris, Executive Director of the Latin American Coalition in Charlotte, said.

Hernandez- Paris said there may be some concerns about volunteering.

“I think there will be hesitant to participate, but I think the biggest concern is the safety of the vaccine," he said.

It is not a live vaccine, it’s a spike protein. It is safe enough that Dr. Shelton says he is participating in the trial himself.

“There have been no significant adverse events that would have been a stopping cause for the trial so far," he said.

He says diverse participation will be critical to the future success of a vaccine.

“We want to be sure that there’s representation from all different groups so that we can be sure the vaccine is safe and effective for everybody.”

Research shows that on average LatinX people account for only 1% of trial participants.

Hernandez-Paris is confident that can change if the information is accessible to the community.

“I think folk are aware of the challenges we are dealing with and I think folk are willing to participate if it’s clear for them what they need to do and how to do it.”

He says the biggest obstacle is a language barrier and people not knowing the trial is going on. He hopes to work with Tryon Medical to make sure the community is aware.

A bonus of participating in this trial is that you will be compensated.

If you want to learn more about this clinical trial, call Tryon Medical Partners at 704-586-9386.

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