Moderna Inc. headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Monday, May 25.
Moderna Inc. headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Monday, May 25. Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Moderna and Pfizer, the two major pharmaceutical companies developing coronavirus vaccines, are still not enrolling enough minorities in their clinical trials, according to their trial updates.

The recommendation: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that Phase 3 clinical trials should aim to include minorities at levels that are at least double their representation in the population to better reflect the population most affected by Covid-19. 

That would mean 37% of the study participants would be Latino, and 27% would be Black. 

The reality: As of this week, 16% of Moderna’s study subjects were Latino, and 10% were Black.

And as of August 31, 11% of Pfizer’s study subjects were Latino and 8% were Black. 

That doesn’t square with Fauci’s recommendation to aim to enroll those minorities at levels at least double their numbers in the Census. 

Why this matters: Minority enrollment in the trials is important for two reasons:

  • The vaccine might work differently in people of color than in White people, and those effects need to be studied. 
  • To find out if the vaccine works, a sufficient number of people need to get infected and sick with Covid-19. That means researchers need to vaccinate enough high-risk people – and Covid-19 has hit Blacks and Latinos particularly hard. 


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