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COVID-19 vaccine trial begins at St. Vincent’s, looking to enroll diverse population

Updated: Aug. 24, 2020 at 6:03 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – Days into its study of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, Ascension St. Vincent’s has already reached its quota for participants 65 years and older and is looking to enroll a diverse population of people at higher risk of exposure to the virus.

St. Vincent’s is one of 89 sites nationwide taking part of the Phase 3 clinical trial of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine. Enrollment began Thursday and the vaccine has already been given to participants, said Dr. Timothy Bode.

“Today we are getting with it, full steam ahead,” said Dr. Bode, Chief Clinical Officer, Ascension St. Vincent’s.

He added, “It’s very exciting, and to be a part of something that you hope will end or minimize COVID-19 for us nationally and even the world, it’s a great thing for us to be honored to participate in. For those who come in and volunteer and enroll with us, it’s, you’re really doing some great work.”

St. Vincent’s will test around 300 people and are looking for those “whose locations or circumstances put them at higher risk of exposure to the virus.”

That includes, “essential workers in close contact with potentially infected persons, including, but not limited to, healthcare and hospital workers, first responders, transit employees, institutional residents or workers, factory employees, and teachers and students.”

There is also an effort to enroll a diverse population.

As of Friday, 18-percent of people enrolled in this trial nationwide were Black or African American, Latinx, American Indian and Alaska Native, according to Moderna.

The biotechnology company said it wants participants in these studies to be, “representative of the communities at highest risk for COVID-19 and of our diverse society.”

In an interview with CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci said “he wanted to see minorities enrolled in coronavirus vaccine trials at levels that are at least double their percentages in the population… because minorities have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic.”

This trial will measure the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. Participants will receive either the vaccine or a placebo and will be monitored over a 25-month period, that includes seven clinic visits and 24 phone calls.

“We are looking for those in high-risk groups, we are still looking for enrollees, but we also want people committed to doing this for 25 months,” said Dr. Bode.

If you’re interested in participating in the trial, visit here.

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