The Covid-19 Prevention Network, a group formed by the US’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to respond to the global pandemic, will host its first event Thursday to encourage Black people to participate in vaccine trials.
The network has already taken out a series of advertisements to encourage minority participation in the trial. Thursday’s event, called “COVID in Black,” is an interactive discussion where participants can communicate via Zoom and Facebook with Black doctors and experts.
The online events are expected to be held monthly, according to Stephaun Wallace, director of external relations at the Covid-19 Prevention Network.
Vaccine trials struggled to recruit minorities, including Black people.
Minority participation in vaccine trials has improved in the past month, but it is still not as high as public health leaders would like.
On Thursday the experts will share information about the current and planned clinical trials, not just to encourage Black enrolment, but also to encourage Black people to take the vaccine once it’s on the market.
“Having conversations in communities about black folks’ engagement in medicine and medical establishments is really a part of this as well,” Wallace told CNN.
Black enrolment remains low: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, has urged that at least 27% of volunteers in vaccine clinical trials be Black, but enrolments aren’t reaching that level.
Black participants made up 13% of Moderna’s new enrolments for the week of September 14, according to the company. In Pfizer’s US trial, 8% of the volunteers are Black, according to the company.
People can volunteer for coronavirus vaccine trials on the Covid-19 Prevention Network’s website. Currently, 3% of the 407,000 people who have registered on the site have been Black, according to a spokesperson for the network.