(FOX 9) - HealthPartners announced Wednesday that it will be enrolling at least 1,500 people in a clinical trial that will determine whether a vaccine developed by Oxford University researchers is effective at preventing COVID-19. HealthPartners is the only health system in Minnesota involved in the Phase 3 clinical trial, which is led by Oxford and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
Minnesotans can enroll at http://HealthPartners.com/vaccinestudy
Researchers will be working with people 18 years or older, particularly those who have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, such as health care workers, first-responders, and food service workers. In addition, researchers will recruit people who have stable health conditions that make them more likely to develop severe forms of COVID-19, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and other heart-related conditions.
“In order to test whether this vaccine is effective, we need to make sure we’re connecting with people who have the greatest likelihood of becoming ill,” Dr. Charlene McEvoy with HealthPartners said in a news release. “Then, over time, we’ll look at the data to see whether the vaccine was successful in preventing illness. Our hope is that we find those who received the vaccine have significantly lower rates of infection.”
Within these eligibility criteria, there will be an emphasis on enrolling people of color. Recent data shows that Black and Latino communities are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 infections and poorer outcomes. In our local community, Hmong, Somali and Native American communities have been significantly affected.
The study is a randomized placebo controlled, double-blind study. Roughly two-thirds of enrollees will receive the vaccine, while one third will receive a placebo. Participants won’t know whether they received the experimental vaccine until after the trial is done.