Uptake and comparative safety of new COVID-19 vaccines by age, sex, region, ethnicity, comorbidities, medication, deprivation, risk level and evidence of prior COVID infection
What is the aim of the study and why is it important?
COVID-19 has affected millions of people around the world and has had major consequences for peoples’ health, work and lives. This made it important to quickly develop vaccines to help protect people against COVID-19.
Several vaccines have been approved for use in the UK and are now being given in the general population. All these vaccines were shown to be safe in the trials that tested them before they were approved. It is also really important to see how these vaccines work when they start being used in the real-world. This is because real-world populations can be different from the populations included in vaccine trials, for example, people in trials might be younger or have less health problems. Monitoring vaccines in the real-world includes looking at how safe the vaccine is, and how well it works in the wider world, for example in older patients, people with various illnesses and those from different ethnic backgrounds.
As well as safety, another important thing to monitor is whether there are patterns that show differences in who is having the vaccine – or not (vaccine uptake). It is crucial to monitor vaccine uptake, because if there are population groups who are not having the vaccine, then this could create or worsen inequalities in health. Knowing about these patterns means interventions can be designed that could help increase vaccine uptake to improve this.
One important way that the new vaccines can be monitored is by using the information in healthcare records about what happens when the vaccine is given. This includes looking at whether the vaccine is working and whether there are symptoms recorded after that vaccine has been given that might suggest unexpected side effects.
General practice (GP) patient records contain the information needed to answer these questions quickly and on very large numbers of people. The QResearch database contains millions of anonymised GP records which can be used by researchers to answer these questions.
This project will assess uptake of the COVID-19 vaccination programme and monitor the safety of the new COVID-19 vaccines using the QResearch database.
Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox
Location of research
University of Oxford
Date on which research approved
Project reference ID
Generic ethics approval reference
Are all data accessed are in anonymised form?
Brief summary of the dataset to be released (including any sensitive data)
GP data on demographics, risk factors for COVID-19, co-morbidities,
Hospital data including clinical outcomes which might indicate serious adverse events
Mortality data including date of death, cause of death including where the cause of death indicates one of the clinical outcomes which might indicate serious adverse events (see indicator list in protocol)
Cancer registry dates and diagnoses of cancer, chemotherapy, radiotherapy
ICNARC data, transplant data and COVID-19 test results.
ONS occupation data
National Immunisation Database
Health Data Research UK (HDR-UK)
The researchers are from the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leicester, Guys and Thomas's, NHS Blood and Transplant Service, Kings College London, the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centr (ICNARC).
Julia Hippisley-Cox, Carol Coupland, Peter Watkinson, Kathy Rowan, David Harrison, Fergus Gleeson, Manu Shankar-Hari, Anthony Harnden, Douglas Thornburn, Tom Ranger, Winnie Mei, Pui San Tan, Martina Patone, Rommel Ravanan, Kamlesh Khunti, Francesco Zaccardi, Simon Griffin, Chris Callaghan, Andrew Pollard
Uptake, effectiveness, and comparative safety of new COVID-19 vaccines by age, sex, region, ethnicity, comorbidities, medication, deprivation, risk level and evidence of prior COVID infection
Authors: Hippisley-Cox J, Patone M, May W, Tan PS, Watkinson P, Rowan K, Harrison H, Shankar-Hari M, Thorburn D, Khunti K, Zaccardi F, Griffin S, Callaghan C, Coupland CA.