CDC awards grant to study COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness among healthcare workers

Jan. 19, 2021

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the effectiveness of vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus among healthcare personnel on the Washington University Medical Campus and across BJC HealthCare, according to a press release from the university.

The study, which includes 16 sites across the country, will allow for the rapid evaluation of these vaccines in a real-world setting with high exposure to the virus.

The project is part of a national effort to evaluate vaccine effectiveness in front-line healthcare personnel who have been among the first to receive the new vaccines after approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA granted emergency use authorizations to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine Dec. 11 and the Moderna vaccine Dec. 18.

At Washington University, the project to evaluate vaccine efficacy will be led by infectious disease specialists Hilary Babcock, MD, Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of the BJC Infection Prevention and Epidemiology Consortium; and Jennie Kwon, DO, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Medical Director for Infection Prevention and Associate Hospital Epidemiologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

In providing care for the most severely ill patients with COVID-19, healthcare personnel and patient-facing researchers and support staff are at high risk of contracting the disease. In this study, Babcock, Kwon and their colleagues will evaluate how effective vaccines are at preventing laboratory-confirmed, symptomatic COVID-19. The researchers also will look at whether vaccines prevent severe disease and compare effectiveness among healthcare personnel in different age groups, among those with pre-existing conditions and among healthcare personnel in different roles, such as nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists. The researchers also will compare different vaccines to one another, if more than one is used on the Medical Campus and at BJC HealthCare.

The study is funded with a contract from the CDC’s Safety and Healthcare Epidemiology Prevention Research Development (SHEPheRD) Program organizations.

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