Canadian COVID‑19 Emergency Department Rapid Response Network: Determining Real-World Vaccine Effectiveness and Duration of Protection Against Variants of Concern

Brooks, Steven C | $496,134

Ontario Queen's University 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

The COVID‑19 pandemic is the most significant global public health crisis in over 100 years. Despite recent progress with vaccination, more contagious and deadly variants of the COVID‑19 virus have emerged. Our project aims to determine vaccine effectiveness against the COVID‑19 virus “variants of concern”. In April 2020, we founded the Canadian COVID‑19 Emergency Department Rapid Response Network to help in the fight against the pandemic. Our network includes 50 Canadian emergency departments from across 8 provinces. The network collects information from the hospital charts of every emergency department patient tested for COVID-19. Our initial goal was to use this information to inform health care personnel and decision-makers about the best way to care for patients with COVID‑19 in the emergency department. We propose the use of our network and database to answer new questions about how well COVID‑19 vaccines work in the real world. Using data from Ontario patients in the database, we will focus on understanding how well vaccines work for specific variants of the COVID‑19 virus. By linking our data with a unique database called the “Ontario Health Data Platform”, we will be able to get very accurate details about each patient’s vaccination history and COVID‑19 test results. By comparing the vaccination status of patients who test positive for specific COVID‑19 variants against those who test negative, we can determine vaccine effectiveness against specific variants. Also, we will be able to determine whether vaccines prevent severe illness caused by variants, even when vaccinated individuals get infected. This information is critical for our public health partners and decision-makers in the government to guide the choice of vaccines to be delivered according to the type of variants circulating. Our project will support policy decisions aiming to end thes pandemic quickly and protect as many people as possible.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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