With $4.9M from the CDC, Brown researchers to study COVID vaccine effectiveness in seniors

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — To address the pressing issue of diminishing immunity among older adults to COVID-19 as well to vaccines designed to protect against the virus, a $4.9 million award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will fund a two-year project led by Brown University researchers and conducted by a team spanning multiple institutions.

The researchers will examine the duration of protective immunity in the context of emerging strains of COVID-19, releasing interim data to the CDC as it becomes available to inform policy decisions in real time.

“Given rising case counts of the Delta variant, we need to know as soon as possible who needs a vaccine booster shot and when they need it,” said Stefan Gravenstein, co-lead investigator on the project and a professor of geriatric medicine at Brown. “This information on how specific immunity to SARS-CoV-2 infection declines with aging, disease and in long-term care residents is critically important for developing a booster strategy based on real-time data in this population.”

The CDC awarded the contract to Gravenstein; Elizabeth White, a Brown assistant professor of health services, policy and practice; and David Canaday at Case Western Reserve University. The project is based at Brown’s Center for Long-Term Care Quality and Innovation, which focuses on research to improve care and quality of life for older adults living in nursing homes. READ MORE