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HealthPartners selected to partner with Oxford University, AstraZeneca on Phase 3 Clinical Trial for a COVID-19 Vaccine

HealthPartners is the only health system in the state participating in the COVID-19 vaccine trial; HealthPartners Institute researchers hope to recruit at least 1,500 people over 8 weeks for the study

September 2, 2020

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — HealthPartners today announced that it will be enrolling at least 1,500 people in a clinical trial that will determine whether a vaccine developed by Oxford University is effective at preventing COVID-19. Researchers from the HealthPartners Institute will oversee the trial enrollment in partnership with physicians from across the organization’s care system.

HealthPartners is the only health system in Minnesota and one of about 100 sites in the U.S., Peru and Chile involved in the clinical trial, which is led by AstraZeneca.

“HealthPartners is pleased to collaborate with AstraZeneca and Oxford University on this COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial,” said Andrea Walsh, HealthPartners president and CEO. “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.”

Eligibility, Equity in Research

To participate in the study, people need to be 18 years of age or older. Researchers are particularly interested in enrolling those who have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, such as health care workers, first-responders, and food service workers. They will also enroll people who work in other close contact professions, like grocery and meat-packing industries.

In addition, researchers will recruit people who have stable health conditions that make them more likely to develop severe forms of COVID-19, including 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,” said Charlene McEvoy, MD, HealthPartners pulmonologist and lead researcher for the local site. “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.”

Within these eligibility criteria, there will be an emphasis on enrolling people of color. Emerging data shows that Black and Latino communities are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 infections and poorer outcomes. In our local community, Hmong, Somali and Native American communities have been significantly affected. These disparities are a reminder that the latest research must support our vulnerable and marginalized communities. HealthPartners researchers will be partnering with community organizations to raise awareness about the trial opportunity and ensure it’s accessible to those who are eligible and interested in participating.

Study details

This is a randomized placebo controlled, double-blind study, the most rigorous approach to testing vaccines and other drugs. Roughly two-thirds of enrollees will receive the vaccine, one third will receive a placebo. Participants won’t know whether they received the experimental vaccine until after the trial is done.

People who are chosen and enrolled in the study will be asked to visit a HealthPartners clinic where they’ll receive the first dose of either the vaccine or placebo. One month later, the patient will receive a second dose.

People who participate in the trial may experience some mild side effects, including fever, fatigue and pain where the vaccine was administered. However, Phase 2 data recently published in The Lancet suggests this vaccine is well-tolerated by recipients and prompts an immune response.

AstraZeneca hopes to have preliminary data regarding effectiveness by the end of 2020.

For more information about enrolling in the trial visit People who are interested in participating in the trial will be directed to a specific trial website where they will be screened for eligibility. If a person is eligible, they can schedule their appointment on the same website.

About HealthPartners Institute

HealthPartners Institute is part of HealthPartners, the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. HealthPartners Institute supports this mission through research, education and practice. The Institute annually conducts 400+ research studies and trains 700+ medical residents and fellows and 1,200+ medical and advanced practice students. Its integration with HealthPartners’ hospitals, clinics and health plan strengthens the Institute’s ability to discover and develop evidence-based solutions and translate them into practice. Based in Minneapolis, the Institute’s work impacts care, health and well-being across the region and nation as well as internationally. Visit for more information.

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