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CDC’s COVID VISION Research Finds COVID-19 Vaccines Highly Effective in Preventing Severe Illness; Westat Provides Clinical Research Support

September 9, 2021

New data indicate that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing COVID-19-associated emergency department and urgent care encounters, hospitalizations, and intensive care unit admission among adults aged 50 years and older, including those most at risk for severe COVID-19 due to advanced age, underlying medical conditions, race, or ethnicity. This analysis was completed before the widespread emergence of the Delta variant. 

The finding appears in the New England Journal of Medicine’s article: Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccines in Ambulatory and Inpatient Care Settings. The research was sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) COVID VISION Project, which integrates medical, laboratory, pharmacy, and vaccination records to examine incidence, care trajectories, and outcomes associated with COVID-19 illness. Westat supports the clinical sites in this work.

Co-authors of the article include Westat’s Sarah Ball, Sc.D., Rebecca Birch, M.P.H., Matthew Levy, Ph.D., Elizabeth Rowley, Dr.P.H., Maria Demarco, Ph.D., Yan Zhuang, Ph.D., and Patricia Shifflett, M.S.

“The findings are vital due to the extreme concerns that the vaccine-hesitant population has about the vaccines,” notes Westat Associate Director Dr. Ball, the project director for the project. “This study provides real-world data about the effectiveness of the vaccines. By extracting data from medical records, we were able to assess, on the frontline, the benefit of the vaccines in preventing severe illness.”

At the onset of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, CDC leveraged existing virtual networks, including the influenza VISION network, which Westat serves as the Data Coordinating Center, to swiftly integrate data from a range of medical systems. Westat works with the network of clinical sites and partners to harmonize a common protocol and data management system for rapidly collecting COVID-19 illness data. Westat also works to provide analytic support to estimate vaccine effectiveness.

Learn more about Westat’s work using a virtual network, VISION, to investigate the risk of flu outcomes and vaccine effectiveness.


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