Rye Brook doctor wants his COVID-19 vaccine trial to focus on communities hit hardest by pandemic

A Rye Brook doctor wants to make sure the communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic are included in his AstraZeneca vaccine trial.
Mark McLean, president of the NAACP New Rochelle branch, says that hesitancy regarding the COVID-19 vaccines is common in communities of color. He says it's not just about the COVID-19 response, but about health care in general.
"It's a challenge we must face. We must change that because, literally, our lives depend on it," McLean says.
Dr. Barry Zingman is trying to change that with his AstraZeneca vaccine trial at Montefiore Medical Center.
"We need to be able to show that the vaccine works in those most affected. Because if it doesn't work in those most affected or it's not studied in those most affected...those most affected won't take it," he says.
Dr. Zingman is encouraging communities of who are most affected to enroll. He says people of color, health care workers, and people over 65 fall into this category.
The vaccine involves two shots, a month apart. There are about 40,000 participants in the study nationwide. So far, AstraZeneca is reporting the vaccine to be up to 90% effective in preventing the virus.
Doctors say they are hopeful this will make people more comfortable with the concept of a vaccine before it's available to the public.
McLean says, "I, too, need to rethink my approach. Especially in this pandemic where far too many African American lives have been lost."
Dr. Zingman's trial still has openings, and will be taking volunteers over the course of the next few weeks.