North Florida, South Georgia VA trial seeks minority volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine development

Posted at 5:27 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 17:27:57-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fl.a (WTXL) — The country is inching closer to a vaccine for COVID-19, with many big pharmaceutical companies feeling confident.

The North Florida South Georgia Veterans Health System needs people to join one of the country's COVID-19 vaccine trials.

The VA trial is monitoring the coronavirus vaccine developed by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. It's one of four potential vaccines in the US.

Anyone who joins the trial will have to get a shot. After that, they're monitored periodically for the next two years.

While anyone can join the trial, the VA is specifically asking for minorities to volunteer to see how the vaccine works in more vulnerable people.

"The disease itself disproportionately affects elderly and minorities," said Dr. Peruvemba Sriram, a principal investigator. "When you're young and healthy, and you end up with COVID, you tend to do okay. But when you are older or if you're a minority, your morbidity and mortality is higher. That's why we're targeting specifically these populations."

Along with minorities, they're also looking for essential workers, as they are more likely to be exposed to the coronavirus.

They are also scheduled among the first group of people to get the vaccine once one is approved.

The VA has a target goal of 500 participants.

Earlier this week, drug company Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine is 90 percent effective.

Doctors say every drug company will need to produce a vaccine since the entire world is in need.