More Black and minority ethnic volunteers needed for Covid-19 vaccine studies
People from all communities, and especially those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, are being encouraged to take part in NHS-supported vaccine studies into Covid-19 after figures show under-representation in some parts of the Thames Valley.
According to Public Health England, people from ethnic minorities are statistically more likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19, and death rates are higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups, but we don’t yet know why.
The NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry, launched in July, invites people who are aged 18 and over to provide their details so they can be contacted about taking part in vaccine trials taking place across the UK.
People from all communities are needed to ensure vaccines being trialled will be effective for everyone.
More than 14,000 people from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire have signed up to the registry. But some ethnic communities are showing under-representation, including:
- Buckinghamshire: 165 Asian or Asian British people signed up, representing 6.22% of registrations compared to 8.5% of the county’s population (2011 Census, all ages)
- Milton Keynes: Black, African, Black British or Caribbean, comprise 1.22% of local sign ups to the registry compared to 6.8% of the borough’s population in this ethnic group.
- Oxfordshire: 23 were Black, African, Black British or Caribbean, making up 0.49% of local sign ups to the registry. This compares to 1.8% of the county’s population in this ethnic group, or 11,424 people (2011 census, all ages).
- Reading: 11 people who are Black, African, Black British or Caribbean comprise 1.19% of sign ups compared to 6.7% of the borough’s population in this ethnic group.
- Slough: 11 out of 293 borough people from the Black, African, Black British or Caribbean community signed up, 3.75% of local sign ups compared to 8.6% of the county’s population.
Professor Najib Rahman, Director of the Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit at the University of Oxford and a member of Consultant Respiratory and Pleural Physician at the Churchill Hospital, Oxford, said: “A significant amount of data from the last six months of the Covid-19 pandemic suggest that individuals from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds may be affected more severely by the virus.
“It is therefore of key importance that people from these communities are able to participate in research on Covid-19, especially concerning the vaccine and its potential to reduce the transmission rate and reduce severity of disease.”
Those who sign up have no obligation to take part in a vaccine trial and people can withdraw their details at any time. Users also have the option to be contacted about other research they could take part in. More than 300,000 have registered nationally.
Sign up to the NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry at www.nhs.uk/researchcontact