Dr Helen Petousis-Harris, finalist for the 2021 Nature Research Award for Driving Global Impact

We are very proud to announce that GVDN Co-Director, Dr Helen Petousis-Harris, has been named as one of eight finalists for this prestigious Nature Research Award that recognises researchers whose critical work in climate environment, healthcare and food security could provide insight into future solutions. Helen was shortlisted from over 350 entries across 62 countries for her research into vaccines and immunisation, with a particular focus on vaccine safety and vaccine effectiveness. The finalist submissions will be assessed on their scientific achievements, the potential for scientific impact of their research programme as well as its impact on global challenges. The winner will be announced in November. Full profiles for the shortlisted research can be viewed on nature.com.

The ACCESS Background rates report, excel sheets and event definitions are now available!

The ACCESS Background rates report, excel sheets and event definitions are now available on ZENODO. The ACCESS (vACcine Covid-19 monitoring readinESS) project was funded by the European Medicines Agency to ensure effectively monitoring of COVID-19 vaccines in the European Union. This study has generated background incidence rates of adverse events of special interest (AESI) using electronic health care databases in 7 EU countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and UK). These background rates may be used to monitor the benefit-risk profile of COVID-19 vaccines. A dashboard provides an interactive manner to query and explore the background rates of diagnoses for adverse events of special interest (AESI) for COVID-19 vaccines. You can browse the data according to data source, age, sex, and calendar year, and visualise it as either a graphic or a numerical display.

Funding for the Global Covid Vaccine Safety (GCoVS) project

In April 2021, the GVDN received significant funding from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a 3 year project entitled Global Covid Vaccine Safety (GCoVS). The purpose of this project is to put in place a coordinated and harmonized post-introduction active surveillance infrastructure in diverse populations across the globe to assess the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. This infrastructure will be capable of responding to safety signals post-introduction of COVID-19 vaccines.

Mix-and-match COVID vaccines trigger potent immune response

A news article in Nature describes a study led by the Carlos III Health Institute in Madrid that explored the benefits of combining different coronavirus vaccines. Preliminary results show that vaccinating people with both the Oxford–AstraZeneca and Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines produces a potent immune response against the virus SARS-CoV-2. The trial of more than 600 people — announced in an online presentation on 18 May — is the first to show the benefits of combining different coronavirus vaccines.

Because of safety concerns, several European countries are already recommending that some or all people who were given a first dose of the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine get another vaccine for their second dose. Researchers hope that such mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccination regimens will trigger stronger, more robust immune responses than will two doses of a single vaccine, while simplifying immunization efforts for countries facing fluctuating supplies of the various vaccines.

Arterial events, venous thromboembolism, thrombocytopenia, and bleeding after vaccination with Oxford-AstraZeneca in Denmark and Norway

A recent article in the BMJ describes a population based cohort study that assessed rates of cardiovascular and haemostatic events in the first 28 days after vaccination with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine ChAdOx1-S in Denmark and Norway, and compared them with rates observed in the general populations.

The researchers observed increased rates of venous thromboembolic events, including cerebral venous thrombosis, among recipients of ChAdOx1-S. For the remaining safety outcomes, the researchers observed slightly higher rates of thrombocytopenia/coagulation disorders and bleeding, which could be influenced by increased surveillance of vaccine recipients. The absolute risks of venous thromboembolic events were, however, small, and the findings should be interpreted in the light of the proven beneficial effects of the vaccine, the context of any given country, and the limitations to the generalisability of the study findings.