BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The University of Maryland School of Medicine is now in Phase 3 of their COVID-19 vaccine trial, and the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Freeman Hrabowski received his vaccine Thursday.

Now, researchers are hoping for more participants to come forward.

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Nearly seven months into the pandemic, the University of Maryland School of Medicine is leading the way with vaccine trials.

Researchers say they’re finally in Phase 3 of trials, testing healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 85-years-old.

But now, they’re facing a new challenge.

Scientists say they need volunteers from African American and Latinx communities to make sure their vaccine works to keep everyone safe.

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Dr. Karen Koloff, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says the virus disproportionately affects older adults, people with underlying medical conditions and racial and ethnic minorities.

She says it’s critical to understand whether these experimental vaccines will protect people most at risk.

“We want to be absolutely sure that we have vaccines and preventive measures to protect the most vulnerable people,” Dr. Kotloff, Principal Investigator at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said.

Thursday, Hrabowski received his vaccine, along with his wife. Now, he’s pushing for more people to come forward.

“We want people, African Americans, and people of all races all age groups to be involved because that’s the way they can ensure the vaccine is safe for people with different genetic makeups,” he said.

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You must be 18 to participate and if you are interested in signing up click here.

Kelsey Kushner