Jan 20, 2021 - Health

Seniors losing interest in vaccine trial now that more are eligible for shots

Picture of an elderly man sitting with a medical professional who is showing him some paperwork.

Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Seniors are dropping out of an ongoing coronavirus vaccine trial, now that more of them are eligible for vaccination, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: Convincing people who are eligible for vaccines to instead participate in a trial — where they might receive a placebo — is an uphill battle.

  • "The window is closing on the ability to conduct a randomized trial,'' Gregory Glenn, the president of research and development at Novavax, which is enrolling a trial for a potential vaccine, told the Post.

Between the lines: One alternative to placebo-controlled trials are trials that compare an investigational drug against an existing one.

  • But the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines' high rates of efficacy could make this kind of trial difficult.

The bottom line: “The future of large-scale trials [for coronavirus vaccines] is in doubt,'' Arthur Caplan, a clinical trial specialist at the New York University Langone medical center, told the Post.

  • "The more vaccines appear with either emergency approval, expanded criteria or plain licensing, there's no way that people are going to sign up for trials with placebo controls."
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