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Making a COVID-19 vaccine that works for everyone: ensuring equity and inclusivity in clinical trials

Pepperrell, Toby, Rodgers, Florence, Tandon, Pranav, Sarsfield, Kelly, Pugh-Jones, Molly, Rashid, Theo and Keestra, Sarai (2021) Making a COVID-19 vaccine that works for everyone: ensuring equity and inclusivity in clinical trials. Global Health Action, 14 (1). ISSN 1654-9880

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Identification Number: 10.1080/16549716.2021.1892309


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mortality and morbidity have been shown to increase with deprivation and impact non-White ethnicities more severely. Despite the extra risk Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity (BAME) groups face in the pandemic, our current medical research system seems to prioritise innovation aimed at people of European descent. We found significant difficulties in assessing baseline demographics in clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines, displaying a lack of transparency in reporting. Further, we found that most of these trials take place in high-income countries, with only 25 of 219 trials (11.4%) taking place in lower middle- or low-income countries. Trials for the current best vaccine candidates (BNT162b2, ChadOx1, mRNA-173) recruited 80.0% White participants. Underrepresentation of BAME groups in medical research will perpetuate historical distrust in healthcare processes, and poses a risk of unknown differences in efficacy and safety of these vaccines by phenotype. Limiting trial demographics and settings will mean a lack of global applicability of the results of COVID-19 vaccine trials, which will slow progress towards ending the pandemic.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2022 17:06
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2024 22:33

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