COVID-19 Vaccine Responses among African Canadian Children with and without Sickle Cell Disease
The primary purpose of this study is to generate information on the immune responses to the COVID‑19 vaccines among African Canadian children with Sickle Cell Disease. Persons with Sickle Cell Disease have weakened immune systems due to lack of a functional spleen, which is required for proper immune function. They are known to be at increased risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19. In addition, current data suggest that African Canadians are disproportionately represented among COVID‑19 cases and severe outcomes. The study will generate data for children less than 12 years of age for whom it is expected that vaccine will be available by Fall/Winter 2021/22. We will also determine the factors that might influence vaccine responses among the study population; these include existing medical conditions besides Sickle Cell Disease, socioeconomic and demographic factors. We plan to study 600 children who have received the COVID‑19 vaccines, including children with and without Sickle Cell Disease. These children will be enrolled from multiple sites across Ontario over a period of 1 year. The project is facilitated by another that we are doing that determines the frequency of COVID‑19 antibodies among African compared with non-African Canadians. Vaccinated children will be offered blood testing at 4 points over 12 months, in order to check the extent to which their immune systems respond to the vaccine. They will also be surveyed to determine the presence of adverse events following vaccination. To facilitate the project and actively engage the communities, we have established a community advisory group, consisting of persons from the African Canadian community. and Sickle Cell Disease organizations. Ultimately, the data derived will provide useful information for individual participants/families, persons without functional spleens and will contribute to enhancing confidence in the importance and value of the COVID‑19 vaccines among racialized communities.