UW Health: Diversity is key for vaccine trials

Shiva Bidar-Sielaff participates in a COVID-19 vaccine trial.
Shiva Bidar-Sielaff participates in a COVID-19 vaccine trial.(UW Health)
Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 8:44 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -UW Health and the University of Wisconsin are looking for participants for the phase III clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine, and doctors say having a diverse pool of participants is key.

The AstraZeneca vaccine study began on Tuesday, and the university is looking for 2,000 participants who will be either given a vaccine or a placebo.

UW Health’s Chief Diversity Officer Shiva Bidar-Sielaff says a diverse group of participants will give researchers a better understanding of how the vaccine works for everyone and the virus is disproportionately affecting people of color.

“It becomes important to have good representation in trials to make sure that we understand the effectiveness of the vaccine, and also so that we have confidence by communities of color in the vaccine,” says Bidar-Sielaff.

Researchers are looking for patients from all genders, races, and ethnicities.

UW Health is working with community organizations and churches to reach Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous populations to find vaccine trial participants.

Transportation assistance is available as well so participants can get to their vaccine trial appointments.

The Phase III study will follow participants over the course of two years. Each participant will receive two doses of a placebo or the vaccine.

To learn more about the study or apply to be a participant, click here.

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