COVID-19 vaccine trial in Austin looking for ethnically diverse set of participants


(Cheryl Gerber/Courtesy of Johnson & Johnson via AP)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A company conducting clinical COVID-19 vaccine trials in Austin is seeking diverse participants.

Benchmark Research said the ethnic diversity of trial participants is important in showing how minority groups might react to the vaccine, and whether any adverse effect presents.

Researchers are particularly struggling to enroll a representative amount of Black, Latino, Indigenous and Alaska Native individuals in the trials.

Manufacturers want to make sure trial participants are representative of communities who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Black communities in Travis County have had a higher COVID-19 fatality rate. Data from March and April said the COVID-19 fatality rate was 5.4% for Blacks. Then, it was 1.9% for white, non-Hispanic people and 1.6% for Latinos and Latinas.

In August, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the death rate for Black, non-Hispanic persons was 2.1 times higher than for white individuals across the country. For Hispanic or Latino persons, it was 1.1 times higher.

The company announced in July it would conduct vaccine trials in Austin. You can sign up for them online at Benchmark’s website.

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