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Participants in IU School of Medicine AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine study come from many different backgrounds

AstraZeneca vaccine study participants
Three participants of the IU School of Medicine late stage clinical study of an investigational COVID-19 vaccine known as AZD1222 spoke with members of the media during a virtual press conference on November 17. The lead researcher, Cynthia Brown, MD, also gave updates about progress made since they announced IU School of Medicine as a site for the study. 

The first participant who spoke with the media was Mia McLendon, a 43-year old wife and mother of two girls who lives in Carmel. McLendon works as a healthcare information technology professional and currently works from home, although she mentioned she’s been doing that since before COVID-19 became an issue. She says she felt like it was important to participate in the study because she is a minority with a comorbidity (hypertension) and wanted to make sure she could represent those populations. 

The second participant who spoke with the media was Joe Morris, a 79-year old retired manufacturing representative who lives in Bloomington. Morris said one of the main reasons he wanted to participate in the study was that he wanted to do his part to help life get back to normal, so he can get back to doing the things he enjoys, such as having lunch with the ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out), as well as seeing movies, going to the gym and traveling. 

The third participant who spoke with media was Ashley Meagher, MD, a 39-year old general surgeon at IU Health, as well as an assistant professor of surgery at IU School of Medicine. Meagher has worked with several patients who have been sick with COVID-19, which made her want to volunteer to participate in the study. One of her primary research interests involves health disparities.

Brown shared information about the study’s enrollment at IU School of Medicine, which started on October 29. By mid-November, the study team had screened more than 750 people and brought in more than 200 people to participate. Of those, about 9% were Black, 16% were Latinx and 15% were individuals over the age of 65. For every two people who get the vaccine as part of this study, one person will receive the placebo.


The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Anna Carrera

Research Communications Manager

Anna Carrera is the research communications manager for Indiana University's Precision Health Initiative, IU School of Medicine and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. She joined the team in June 2019 after working as a TV news rep...