Multicultural News

IU School of Medicine’s AstraZeneca trial misses goal in recruiting Black people

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana University School of Medicine just released parts of its AstraZeneca vaccine trial data.

The data shows higher rates of Latino and older Hoosiers participating, but participation in the Black community fell short.

IU School of Medicine representatives said Black people showed interest on initial contact. They hoped to mirror Indy’s demographics, and that goal was reached in most categories. Although they missed the mark in recruiting Black people, the plan is to use what they’ve learned to improve outreach next time.

When the AstraZeneca vaccine rolls out, it’ll give Americans a total of four vaccine options, one more step in the fight against COVID-19.

“I would say that this study was just a mechanism to get us back to the norm, and someone has to do it,” said trial participant Mia McClendon.

McClendon and Joe Morris are some key figures in rolling it out. They are a couple of people from a pool of 530 participants in the IU School of Medicine’s AstraZeneca vaccine trial.

Morris said, “Now, we’re going to lunch again and having a good time, so things are looking up.”

Study representatives said the hope was to get a group consistent with Indy demographics. For the most part, their numbers stacked up with older and Latino Hoosiers participating. The study fell short in recruiting Black people, a group that have expressed vaccine hesitancy and seen disproportionate impacts from the virus. Representatives said getting this trial going was a quick process.

“I think its really important as the flagship university, medical school here in the state that as a research community we understand the potential barriers to enrollment as well as how to make those connections,” Dr. Cynthia Brown said. “I think one of the things that I learned, my own personal things, is we can’t rely on past methods to inform what were doing.”

Making upfront connections with diverse leaders and inclusion committees may have helped improve enrollment, but, now that this trial is over, Morris is hoping to get back to vacationing.

“I’ve got 80 years in now and will be working on my 81st pretty soon. I got to take another trip somewhere.”

McClendon is looking to get back with family.

“She’s great (her mother). She can hug her grandchildren now. So, I’m pretty excited about that.”

There are concerns about the potential for blood clotting with the AstraZeneca vaccine. The data is still being monitored to examine side effects people experienced in the trial. Morris and McClendon said they didn’t have any side effects.