UCSD Health, Chicano Federation meet after concerns over COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

Posted at 5:53 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 20:53:52-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After receiving criticism from the Chicano Federation, UCSD Health officials met with the group Friday to review plans to recruit volunteers for a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.

The Chicano Federations sent the following statement Thursday after hearing about UCSD’s plans to enroll approximately 1,600 volunteers to participate in the AstraZeneca COVIS-19 Phase 3 clinical trial:

“Once again, the burden of COVID-19 is falling on communities of color. It is unfair that underserved communities who have the least access to information are now being targeted to participate in an experimental vaccine. This tactic, unfortunately, does not come as a surprise given that this country has a history of using people of color for experimental medical treatments. There is still much work to do in terms of educating our community and we will continue to lead the effort of ensuring that black and brown communities are able to make an informed decision about their participation in this trial.”

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UCSD planned to focus on getting volunteers from communities his the hardest by COVID-19, like the South Bay.

After communicating with UCSD officials, Nancy Maldonado, president and CEO of the Chicano Federation, said misconceptions were cleared up. The two sides are now working together on solutions to any concerns.

“Part of the confusion is there are multiple clinical trials happening at the same time,” said Maldonado. “A lot of these clinical trials are happening in communities where there is a lack of communication. We did meet with UC San Diego, and we are going to be working with them in making sure that our community receives the education around these clinical trials.”

Maldonado said community outreach would ensure that volunteers have all of the information necessary to make informed decisions.

“When outreach is done in a way that is respectful to the community that different then some of the other approaches that other clinical trials are taking,” she said.

UCSD made it clear that this trial is entirely voluntary, and consent forms will be available in English and Spanish.

“I would just encourage anyone who has any questions or who might also be confused about the different trials and what’s going on, to contact the community-based organization that they know and trust to get some more information,” said Maldonado.

The trial is expected to begin on Sept. 8. People interested in volunteering to take part can click here.