Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will be needing 20,000 volunteers in Latin America for late-stage trials of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

On Friday, J&J announced that countries like the U.S. and Belgium, where the company is already conducting testing of its COVID-19 vaccine, would be the first to get access to its shot. 

According to JosueBacaltshuk, vice president of medical affairs for Latn America for Janssen, the arm of J&J, the pharma giant is also planning for a massive expansion of J&J's vaccine trials in the region. J%J needs 20,000 volunteers for phase 3 of human trials of the experimental coronavirus vaccine, as per The Motley Fool. The company aims to recruit people in hard-hit Latin America. Wherein, there is one-third of the planned global total, as per one of the public health chiefs of J&J in the region.

Once the COVID-19 vaccine is ready, countries hosting the trials will get preferential access, Bacaltchuk said. "We expect the majority in Brazil because it's the biggest country and also the one most affected by the pandemic, so we expect a lot of people volunteering, but we also expect high numbers in Colombia and Argentina," he said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday

Bacaltchuk added that J&J intends to prioritize the countries that contribute to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine and have patients who will participate in the trials.

J&J comes as multiple companies near the ends of the final stages of clinical trials for the prospective vaccines and the increasing concerns of vaccine nationalism from agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO). According to Daily Mail, inclusion is an ongoing issue in every nation. 

On Friday, Moderna also stated that it might slow its COVID-19 vaccine trials, which are conducted in the U.S., to ensure that the representatives of minority people are included in their trials. These minority people are the population specifically hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

On the other hand, J&J guaranteed that it would intensify its recruitment for the three Latin American countries' trial volunteers. 

J&J's coronavirus vaccine is one of the hundred vaccines being developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. The disease has infected 26.5 million and 869,323 deaths across the world. Latin America is considered the epicenter of the pandemic.

The pharma giant is bringing out tests in the U.S. and Belgium and added Argentina, Peru, and Chile to the list of Latin American countries where it plans to conduct phase III trials along with Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. The drugmaker's trials will include 60,000 volunteers globally.

The Latin American countries have a high infection number that makes the testing sites attracted to the region to include them for vaccine development. The vaccine is said to be easier to obtain dependable trial results in places with high rates of active infection and transmission.

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