PEOPLE from ethnic minorities in Oxfordshire are being urged to sign up for Covid vaccine trials.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic residents, who are more at risk from the virus, are currently underrepresented in an NHS registry of people willing to take part in research.

Launched in July, it invites people who are aged 18 and over to provide their details so they can be contacted about taking part in trials taking place across the UK.

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People from all communities are needed to ensure vaccines being trialled will be effective for everyone.

According to Public Health England, people from Black communities also are statistically more likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19, and death rates are higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups, but scientists do not yet know why.

A total 335 out of 4,718 people in Oxfordshire who have signed up for the research registry so far are from ethnic minority communities. Of these, 23 were Black, African, Black British or Caribbean, making up 0.49 per cent of local sign ups to the registry.

This compares to 1.8 per cent of the county’s population in this ethnic group, or 11,424 people (based on the 2011 census of all ages).

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A further 183 Asian or Asian British people signed up, representing 3.88 per cent of registrations compared to 4.9 per cent of the county’s population, 31,657 people, in this ethnic group.

Once signed up there is no obligation to take part in a vaccine trial and people can withdraw their details at any time.

Users also have the option to be contacted about other research they could take part in. More than 300,000 have registered nationally.

Professor Najib Rahman, director of the Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit at Oxford University and a member of Consultant Respiratory and Pleural Physician at the Churchill Hospital, said: “A significant amount of data from the last six months of the Covid-19 pandemic suggest that individuals from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds may be affected more severely by the virus.

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“It is therefore of key importance that people from these communities are able to participate in research on Covid-19, especially concerning the vaccine and its potential to reduce the transmission rate and reduce severity of disease.”

Dr Maheshi Ramasamy, principal investigator on the university's Oxford Vaccine Group added: “We know that people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are disproportionately affected by Covid-19 in terms of severe disease and mortality.

"So when we do have a vaccine that we roll out to the general population, it's really important that we can demonstrate to people from these communities that we have evidence that the vaccine works.”

Sign up to the registry at