Scientists at the University of Auckland in New Zealand will facilitate the largest vaccine monitoring study ever undertaken of how COVID-19 vaccines effects about 300 million people in 17 countries.
The university was awarded almost $8 million by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the study, which will be undertaken by the Global Vaccine Data Network (GVDN).
Associate Professor Helen Petousis-Harris from the university will be the project leader, as her team of researchers monitor the effectiveness and potential risks of COVID-19 vaccines over the next three years.
Petousis-Harris, who is also a vaccinologist and one of New Zealand’s leading voices in the COVID-19 response, told Stuff.co.nz there has never been a vaccine roll-out like this one.
Clinical trials provided the information needed to authorise vaccines for use, but it’s vital to continue monitoring how they work, she said.
“There are many new COVID-19 vaccines, and it is therefore imperative that there be a global, centralised surveillance process to detect any very rare vaccine safety issues and to allow ongoing risk-benefit assessments,” Petousis-Harris told the website.
With such a huge data set, scientists will be able to assess even extremely rare outcomes, such as hospitalisations.
The study will draw from populations across Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Western Pacific, with more countries expected to join as the study progresses.
Researchers will be also able to detect new potential concerns and compare outcomes between vaccines, as well as between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.