HealthPartners seeks to enroll Minnesotans in COVID-19 vaccine trial

Minnesotans now have the chance to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Wednesday, HealthPartners announced it plans to enroll roughly 1,500 people over eight weeks during its clinical trial.

HealthPartners stated it is the only health care system in the state participating and that it is working with Oxford University and AstraZeneca on the trial.

"HealthPartners is pleased to collaborate with AstraZeneca and Oxford University on this COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial," Andrea Walsh, HealthPartners president and CEO, said in a statement. "This research compliments our other efforts to advance COVID-19 testing, treatment and care and is an important part of our mission to improve health and well-being."

Researchers will be analyzing whether the vaccine developed by Oxford University is effective in preventing COVID-19. HealthPartners states researchers are particularly interested in those who have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, including health care workers, first responders, food service workers and those in the grocery and meat-packing industries.

Researchers also plan to recruit people with conditions that might make them more likely to develop severe health issues due to COVID-19, such as those with diabetes, high blood pressure and other heart-related conditions.

"In order to test whether this vaccine is effective, we need to make sure we’re connecting with people who have the greatest likelihood of becoming ill," Charlene McEvoy, MD, HealthPartners pulmonologist and lead researcher for the local site, said in a statement. "Then, over time, we’ll look at the data to see whether the vaccine was successful in preventing illness. Our hope is that we find those who received the vaccine have significantly lower rates of infection."

Learn more about the trial, including eligibility criteria, here.