Dec. 28, 2020

Why Aren't Highest-Risk People Better Represented in COVID Vaccine Trials?

Why Aren't Highest-Risk People Better Represented in COVID Vaccine Trials?

Vaccination across the nation is now underway, with healthcare workers and those living and working in long-term care facilities among the first to receive the vaccines. Long-term and nursing home residents make up about 1% of the U.S. population, but have accounted for roughly 40% of all COVID-19 deaths, while those older than 50 are more likely to die from COVID-19 than younger age groups. However, they’ve accounted for less than a quarter of total COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants. Why are they so scarcely represented in trials? To learn more, we chatted with Sharon Inouye, MD, MPH, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and geriatrician at Hebrew Senior Life. She is also director of the Aging Brain Center at the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research. The episode kicks off with a discussion with 60-year old clinical trial participant Kelley Pick, to hear about her experience in a trial.