LONDON (Reuters) – COVID-19 vaccine trials – Britain on Monday urged elderly people and volunteers from Black and Asian minority groups to sign up to a COVID-19 vaccine trial registry to boost efforts to find a working vaccine against the disease that offers protection against higher risk groups.

No COVID-19 vaccine candidate has yet been proven effective against the disease, but around 20 are in clinical trials.

Over 100,000 people have volunteered to take part in vaccine trials, Britain’s business ministry said, but more volunteers are needed to make sure candidate shots work for everyone.

“Protecting those at risk is the only way we will end this pandemic,” said Kate Bingham, chair of the UK Vaccines Taskforce.

“Getting 100,000 volunteers on board is a great start but we need many more people from many different backgrounds that we can call on for future studies if we are to find a vaccine quickly to protect those who need it.”

The government said it was particularly keen for over 65s, frontline health and care workers and people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to sign up.

A study last week showed that minority ethnic groups were two to three times more likely to have had COVID-19 compared to white people in England. Disproportionate numbers of people from minority groups have also died from the disease.

Over 100,000 people have volunteered to take part in COVID-19 vaccine trials, helping to speed up efforts to discover a safe and effective vaccine.

The government is today (Monday 17 August) encouraging more people to join the thousands of volunteers and sign up to the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry to help the NHS in the fight against coronavirus and ensure potential candidates work for everyone.

To enable large-scale vaccine studies to take place across the UK, the aim is to get as many people as possible signed up to the Registry by October.

Researchers particularly welcome people from all parts of society, especially those who are more likely to benefit from a vaccine, including the over 65s, frontline health and social care workers, and those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

Clinical studies with a diverse pool of volunteers will help scientists and researchers better understand the effectiveness of each vaccine candidate and will considerably speed up efforts to discover a safe and workable vaccine.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

From John O’Groats to Land’s End, everyone has played their part in tackling coronavirus from wearing face coverings to following social distancing guidance.

Scientists and researchers are working day and night to find a vaccine that meets the UK’s rigorous regulatory and safety standards, but they need hundreds of thousands of people of all backgrounds and ages to sign-up for studies to speed up this vital research.

I urge everyone to play our part in the fight against coronavirus and join the 100,000 people who have already registered, so we can help save and protect millions of lives.

Source Reuters