Studies will evaluate COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness among healthcare personnel

Jan. 18, 2021

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis announced it 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.

Read more at HPN.

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 December 11 and the Moderna vaccine December 18.

At Washington University, the project to evaluate vaccine efficacy will be led by infectious disease specialists Hilary Babcock, MD, a professor of medicine and medical director of the BJC Infection Prevention and Epidemiology Consortium; and Jennie Kwon, DO, an 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.

This project is one of several CDC grants to Kwon and Babcock investigating SARS-CoV-2 infection and healthcare personnel. Another such study, led by Kwon, will evaluate the role of PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 among asymptomatic health-care personnel who have been exposed to the virus, and the role of SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing among health-care personnel who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The research will focus on WUSM and BJC personnel on the Medical Campus. Kwon’s goal is to learn whether such testing can detect and prevent transmission of the virus in the health-care workplace.

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has the report.

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