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DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — It has been described as hope in a bottle as health care workers were the first ones to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

But research into additional coronavirus vaccines continues across the country, including at UC Davis Health. 

UC Davis officials say phase three clinical trial Novavax vaccine have begun and they have plans to enroll 200-300 people. 

“I was really excited actually,” said Virginia Hedrick, executive directive of California Consortium for Urban Indian Health. “It’s important that we are included in vaccine trials.” 

Unlike other trials, this trial will prioritize people from communities deeply affected by the virus, including Latino, African American and Native American communities. 

“American Indians have the highest rates of diabetes. Those with high blood pressure or chronic disease such as heart disease. Those are the things we already experience at a higher rate in the American Indian community,” Hedrick said. “It makes sense a disease like COVID-19 would be disproportionately impacting us.”

Hedrick is a member of they Yurok tribe of Northern Californian and Humboldt County. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports Native Americans and Alaskan natives are three times more likely to contract the virus and die, which is two times likely when compared to non-Hispanic whites. 

Even though there is some historical mistrust between minorities and the government, Hedrick adds the vaccines are being seen with a transparent approach. 

“I encourage folks to do their research, do their homework. Understand there are people of color at these tables,” Hedrick said.  “We are living in a new time and a new day, and it’s time we start thinking about these things differently and start to heal from some of those past traumas.”

For more information on the clinical trials and how to sign up, click or tap here.