By Erick Johnson
Some 3,000 Blacks participated in Moderna’s clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine and several had severe cases of the diseases before taking the vaccine, according to company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The news come as Moderna’s announced that its two-shot vaccine is 94.5% effective against coronavirus based on data after completing phase three of its clinical trials. In the coming weeks, Moderna’s is expected to apply to Food and Drug Administration after it receives more test data later this month.
“These are obviously very exciting results,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor. “It’s just as good as it gets — 94.5% is truly outstanding.”
Early Wednesday, November 18, Pfizer announced its vaccine was 95 percent effective after early data showed its vaccine was more than 90% effective against the disease. Pfizer and its collaborator BioNTech said they will start the Food and Drug Administration approval process “within days” for its candidate vaccine. Pfizer did not disclose the racial identity of its volunteers in the testing phase.
Last month, Moderna’s vaccine trials experienced a slowdown after the company’s private contractors failed to recruit enough Black volunteers. According to Moderna, 30,000 volunteers aged 18 and older participated in the trials. They include volunteers who were high at risk in developing severe complications of COVID-19. Some 7,000 volunteers were over the age of 65. About 5,000 volunteers who are under the age of 65 had high-risk diabetes, severe obesity and cardiac disease that made put them at risk of contracting COVID-19. About 6,000 participants were Hispanic and 3,000 participants were Black.
During the pandemic, COVID-19 has disproportionally affected Blacks and Hispanics more than any other ethnic group. According to Reuters news service, the novel coronavirus has been found to infect Blacks almost three times more than whites, and Blacks are twice as likely to die from COVID-19.
Since the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, where hundreds of Black men died of the disease, Blacks have developed a deep distrust of the medical industry. Poverty and lack of access to healthcare have also kept Blacks from seeking medical care.
Moderna’s vaccine is among the furthest developed, with the company getting