By Marlee Ginter

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Research is underway across the country as pharmaceutical companies launch COVID-19 vaccine trials, but while the clock is ticking on these clinical trials, exactly who participates in them is equally important.

That’s why researchers in Sacramento are specifically calling on minorities to participate.

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Benchmark Research’s Associate Site Director Pav Magra took CBS13 through the Sacramento site where researchers are busy collecting data on a COVID-19 vaccine trial.

“We are looking for patients of certain minority backgrounds, including Latino and African-American backgrounds, just to make sure people of all backgrounds are represented,” Magra said.

It’s critical research but they’re counting on more minority participants.

“It’s so important for minorities to participate,” said Benchmark Research CEO Mark Lacy.

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Lacy says different populations can be affected differently by the same drug. That’s why it’s important to see how members of minority groups react to a vaccine and whether there are any adverse effects unique to certain populations.

Getting those answers is especially critical in Northern California, where the Latino community has been hit especially hard by COVID-19.

“It’s important that they too participate in a solution to the problem because minorities are disproportionately affected, so we really want to make sure that we protect the minority population,” Lacy said.

Magra said she is left hoping the study in Sacramento reaches far and wide.

“It’s a very busy time but very exciting time as well because obviously it’s helping out and making a difference,” Magra said.

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You can get more information on participating at the Benchmark Research website.