CoVPN team leads campaign to ensure diversity in COVID-19 vaccine trials

Fred Hutch-based experts' extensive media efforts drive conversations and awareness about the importance of inclusive participation
Screen grab of NIH webinar with the words "an update on COVID-19 vaccine development" in a banner. Drs. Francis Collins, Anthony Fauci and Michele Andrasik are pictured in a four-way split screen along with a woman using sign language
National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis S. Collins (top left), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci (top right) and the COVID-19 Prevention Network’s Dr. Michele Andrasik (lower left), along with a sign-language interpreter, answer questions about COVID-19 vaccine development in a Twitter and Facebook Live event on Sept. 24, 2020.

In July 2020, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, announced that the COVID-19 Prevention Network, or CoVPN, would run five Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trials and that its operations center would be headquartered at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Larry Corey and the CoVPN team are building on the expertise and infrastructure of the Hutch-based HIV Vaccine Trials Network along with three other NIAID-funded clinical trials networks — the HIV Prevention Trials Network, the AIDS Clinical Trials Group and the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium — in a national collaboration that brings together top academic research institutions, pharmaceutical and biotech companies and the U.S. government to speed the development of vaccines to prevent coronavirus infection.

Since that initial announcement, three trials are up and running — and recruiting the thousands of people needed to ensure the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

These efforts have been supported by an extensive media campaign to get the word out and, specifically, drive conversations and awareness about the importance of diversity and inclusive participation in these trials. The CoVPN team has engaged in many community-based efforts to reach people directly. These efforts include a faith initiative, a national ad campaign and input from community working groups, community advisory boards, and expert panels, which advise on everything from trial design, clinical trial protocols and materials for the over 100 clinical trial sites.

Here is an overview of the efforts by Fred Hutch’s CoVPN team to drive the project forward.

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