The government today (Monday, Aug 17) urged elderly people and volunteers from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to sign up to a Covid-19 vaccine trial registry to boost efforts to find a working vaccine against the disease that offers protection against higher risk groups.

No vaccine candidate has yet been proven effective against the disease, but around 20 are in clinical trials.

“Over 100,000 people have volunteered to take part in vaccine trials,” the government said in a statement, adding that more volunteers were needed to make sure candidate shots work for everyone.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Scientists and researchers are working day and night to find a vaccine that meets the UK’s rigorous regulatory and safety standards, but they need hundreds of thousands of people of all backgrounds and ages to sign-up for studies to speed up this vital research.

“I urge everyone to play our part in the fight against coronavirus and join the 100,000 people who have already registered, so we can help save and protect millions of lives.”

The government said it was particularly keen for over 65s, frontline health and care workers and people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to sign up.

“Protecting those at risk is the only way we will end this pandemic,” said Kate Bingham, chair of the UK Vaccines Taskforce.

“That’s why we are working as quickly as possible to run clinical studies on the most promising vaccines to see whether they offer protection against Covid-19, whilst adhering to the UK’s strict safety and regulatory processes. And we need people throughout the UK to sign up to the registry to help us achieve this.”

A study last week showed that minority ethnic groups were two to three times more likely to have had Covid-19 compared to white people in England. Disproportionate numbers of people from minority groups have also died from the disease.

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