Over the next year, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) will lead a study of COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness on health workers, thanks to a $4.9 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Participants in what is being called the PREVENT (Preventing Emerging Infections through Vaccine Effectiveness Testing) project will be pulled from 16 medical centers. Each will have experienced COVID-19 symptoms. In all, researchers hope to enroll 10,000 personnel from across the country.
“Health care workers all across the world have stepped up to meet the overwhelming needs of patients, families, and communities during the pandemic and have been prioritized to be the first offered the COVID-19 vaccine,” Dr. David Talan, a professor from the UCLA Department of Emergency medicine and trial co-lead, said. “We have an obligation to learn as much as we can about the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety.”
Talan and his UCLE team will be joined by researchers from the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine, including fellow lead investigators Dr. Nicholas Mohr. They will study both vaccinated and unvaccinated healthcare workers who have been tested for the virus due to symptomatic showings. Then, positive COVID-19 tests will be compared, along with the severity of illness presented.
PREVENT will be undertaken through CDC-supported network EMERGEncy ID NET and participants in the CDC-funded Project COVERED, which assesses and works to mitigate the risk emergency department providers face of acquiring COVID-19 through direct contact with patients
“With vaccines now approved, we are entering an important next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mohr said. “Studying the experiences of health care personnel will give us insights into how we can protect both health care workers and the general public once vaccines are more widely available.”