Medical professionals find growth in women and diversity representation for vaccine trials
With some medical professionals focusing on gaining trust with the general population regarding the vaccine, doctors and students at UNMC are studying and comparing vaccine trials of now and then. They are saying there has been some growth.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — With some medical professionals focusing on gaining trust with the general population regarding the vaccine, doctors and students at UNMC are studying and comparing vaccine trials of now and then. They are saying there has been some growth.
Laura Flores, a UNMC medical student with the study says, after comparing over 200 trials from 10 years of clinical trials, here’s what they found.
Race is not reported in 40 percent of the trials and ethnicity was not reported in 60 percent. People in higher age groups also are underrepresented.
When it comes to diversity in trials for recent Moderna and Pfizer vaccine trials, Flores says they found an uptick in diverse class cases.
“We’d like to point out the Moderna and the Pfizer trials for COVID-19 are doing a very good job of being representative of the population and we didn’t have anything to do with that,” said Flores. “But we like to say that’s a great step in the right direction and it shows that we are able to do it when we spend time and we spend the resources to include all populations.”
She said now when it comes to vaccination rates, they are poorly distributed to diverse populations.
Flores says she found it interesting that women are over represented.
“Women both adult and child females were over represented in clinical vaccine trials and research,” said Flores. “So compared to other areas like oncology clinical trials women are traditionally left out and so this was a really interesting finding. We don’t have a good explanation for it may be just that they are more likely to join trials or vaccine trials are more often presented as opportunities to them.”
Flores and a Harvard professor together are actively pushing for diversity enrollment targets for vaccine trials to continue in the U.S.
She says a glaring issue for the medical professionals is missing data in those trials.
“So in my opinion, it’s difficult to assess the true representation of participants when we’re missing this huge chunk of data,” says Flores. “I think there’s a lot of medical mistrust and again and it is justified in the community. So, using these resources in making them available and speaking with health care practitioners that look like the population is so key.”
Flores says she hopes to continue seeing growth in including all people in vaccine trials. To read the study visit click here.