Vaccine Trials Seeking Minority Participants, State Senator Volunteers

Oct. 9, 2020, 5:41 p.m. ·


If you’re a minority, clinics across the country conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials want you to sign up as a volunteer. Meridian Clinical Research in Omaha is one such clinic.

Vice President of Recruitment Beau Garland says diversity guidelines are being pushed by the FDA for the COVID-19 vaccine trials.

“Sponsors for the FDA are mandating more diversity, which they haven’t in the past,” said Garland. “They’ve promoted it, but not mandated it until now.”

Garland says if trials aren’t diverse enough, it could delay a potential vaccine from getting to market, though in the long run, that may not be a bad thing.

“Without volunteers participating in every ethinc group it is impossible for us to give good, reliable data back to the FDA for them and the scientists to be able to look at and see if it's safe and efficacious to every group,” said Garland.

Omaha State Senator Tony Vargas, a Latino man, lost his father to COVID-19 earlier in the pandemic and has since participated in a Meridian vaccine trial in the hope of setting an example for others.

“Being a part of a trial, I was concerned that there are a lot of different things that could happen in terms of side-effects,” said Vargas. “However, I also recognize that there’s 210,000 people that have died from this, including my dad.”

Garland confirms that there is a chance of suffering side effects from testing, but says most side-effects are no worse than those you would get from a flu shot.

If you’re interested in participating in a COVID-19 vaccination trial, you can find more information on