With 35% of Americans saying they do not trust the speed at which clinical trials are progressing, education and transparency are essential to increasing public trust in a COVID-19 vaccine.
New research shows that more than 1 in 3 Americans don’t trust the speed at which clinical trials are moving for a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine, although they noted some ways in which experts could alleviate these concerns.
According to a press release on the study, in addition to the 35% of Americans who do not trust the speed of the trials, another 23% do not believe that pharmaceutical companies have consumers’ best interests in mind as they are conducting these trials. However, despite these concerns, the analysis found that Americans are paying attention to the developments, with 22% saying they regularly look for updates on the clinical trials.
Based on these findings, the investigators said developers should prioritize education and transparency around the vaccine development process. According to the press release, 1 in 5 Americans said both pharmaceutical companies and the government are not communicating enough about the trials.
“There’s a clear demand for unbiased information from the American public when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials,” said Duncan Emerton, PhD, director of custom intelligence and analytics at Pharma Intelligence, in a press release. “As we try to make it through this global pandemic together, there is a critical need for transparency from those racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.”
Investigators also asked what would make participants more likely to get the vaccine once available. According to the findings, 28% said they would be more likely to get vaccinated if they had more information on clinical trials; 15% said they would be more likely if they knew that the demographic breakdowns of the trials were diverse; 12% said they would be more likely if they could directly ask questions to vaccine developers; and 11% said they would be more likely if they personally knew a trial participant.
The authors said developers leading the race for a vaccine should be at the forefront of this educational push. Researchers found that 57% of Americans have heard of at least 1 COVID-19 vaccine developer with phase 3 clinical trials, but some are more recognized than others.
Specifically, 38% have heard of AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford; 25% have heard of Moderna and the National Institutes of Health; 20% have heard of BioNTech, Pfizer, and Fosun Pharma; and 18% have heard of the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.
“With a large portion of Americans already voicing their apprehension around taking a vaccine upon approval, education will be a key component in changing their attitude,” Emerton concluded. “A vaccine can only work if people are willing to be vaccinated. If the public doesn’t trust it, all of the industry’s efforts will have been for nothing.”
Informa Pharma Intelligence Launches New Pulse Report: Clinical Trials & the COVID-19 Vaccine [news release]. Received via email October 5, 2020. Accessed October 7, 2020.