PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — As the U.S. moves toward the highly anticipated approval of the first COVID-19 vaccines, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are likely to join health care workers as groups who will be among the earliest vaccine recipients in most states.
This week, the National Institute on Aging awarded a grant to a team of researchers based at Brown University to design a monitoring system to identify and track adverse health impacts after elderly nursing home residents receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
“Nursing home residents constitute about 40% of all deaths due to COVID in the nation, but make up less than one half of one percent of the U.S. population,” said lead investigator Vincent Mor, a professor of health services, policy and practice at Brown’s School of Public Health. “Residents are in desperate need of protection from the virus, but no one as sick as a nursing home resident was enrolled in any of the vaccine trials.”
The new effort, a supplement to a $53.4 million IMPACT Collaboratory grant awarded to Brown and Hebrew SeniorLife in 2019, provides funding for Mor and a team of Brown researchers to work with Genesis HealthCare, one of the nation’s largest post-acute care providers with more than 350 facilities across 25 states.
The researchers will monitor the occurrence of adverse events — diagnoses, signs and symptoms that virologists, epidemiologists and clinicians believe may be associated with the vaccine — following COVID-19 vaccinations to residents in facilities affiliated with Genesis. The work is part of a U.S. Centers for Disease Control effort to establish a vaccine adverse event monitoring system for COVID-19, particularly focused on frail elderly residents who were not included in vaccine trials.