UK residents from black, Asian and other minority ethnic (often referred to as BAME) backgrounds are being urged to sign up for coronavirus vaccine trials, after being among the worst hit by the virus.
Figures showed that less than 0.5 per cent of the people who have already signed up to take part in clinical trials are from the black community
Just 1,200 sign ups
A total of 270,000 people have put their names on the NHS Vaccine Registry, meaning scientists could contact them to take part in a clinical trial for a vaccine. But only 11,000 of those volunteers are from Asian communities, and just 1,2000 (less than 0.5 per cent) are from black, African and Caribbean backgrounds.
Officials are now calling on people from BAME communities to sign up to the vaccine registry, explaining that an effective coronavirus vaccine needs to be trialled on all parts of the population, especially those who are more vulnerable.
Dr Maheshi Ramasamy, an infectious diseases and acute general medicine consultant who works for the Oxford Vaccine Group said, "We know that people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are disproportionately affected by Covid-19 in terms of severe disease and mortality.
“So when we do have a vaccine that we roll out to the general population, it's really important that we can demonstrate to people from these communities that we have evidence that the vaccine works."
Currently there are six different vaccines being trialled in the UK, including one led by the University of Oxford and Astrazeneca, and another from the US biotech company, Novavax.
How to take part in clinical vaccine trials
If you want to take part in coronavirus vaccine research, you can sign up via the NHS research website.
You will be asked a series of questions about yourself, and then asked for permission for researchers on vaccine studies to contact you. You can sign up if you are 18 or over, and live in the UK.
If you sign up, your details will be kept secure. They'll only be shared with researchers who think you might be suitable for a study they're working on. The researchers will then contact you to tell you more about it.
You do not have to talk to researchers or take part in a study. It's your choice. If you sign up, you can withdraw your permission at any time.
What’s involved in vaccine studies
According to the NHS website, participants will need to visit the hospital, or other research site, a few times over a six to 12 month period.
At the visits, participants will be told about the research study, have the chance to ask any questions and have blood tests done.
If you take part in a vaccine study, you may or may not be offered the vaccine.
You can find out more at the be part of the research website.