Kaiser Permanente launches large-scale study focusing on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in children

Photo of nurse preparing a needle injection on a female child

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente Northwest, the University of Washington, and Seattle Children’s Hospital plan to recruit 3500 individuals as part of this long-term effort.

Kaiser Permanente researchers have launched a large-scale study focusing on the real-world effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines in children.

The study, which is called CASCADIA, will be jointly led by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research (CHR) in Portland, Oregon, and the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. Researchers from Seattle Children’s Hospital will also contribute.

While individuals aged 6 months to 49 years will be included in the study, the researchers will look primarily at vaccine effectiveness in children between the ages of 5 and 17 years. The vaccines being studied are those that are currently in use in the U.S.

Gloria Coronado, PhD Allison Naleway

“The COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved in the U.S. have already shown high levels of safety and effectiveness in both children and adults,” explained Allison Naleway, PhD, the lead investigator on the CASCADIA study and a distinguished investigator at CHR. “However, we know that we need to continue studying vaccine effectiveness on an on-going basis—especially at this point in the pandemic with the need to vaccinate as much of our population as possible, including children.”

While the primary focus of the study is on the effectiveness of the vaccine in children, there are several other objectives, and adults 18-49 years of age as well as children 6 months to 4 years will be recruited. A total of 3,500 participants will be recruited from the Portland and Seattle metropolitan areas, and participants will be followed for up to four years. The study is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Enrolled participants will be asked to submit weekly symptom surveys by text or email as well as self-collected nasal swab specimens. The specimens will be tested for COVID-19 as well as both influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). COVID-19 test results will be returned to the participants the same week. The study invites both unvaccinated and vaccinated people to join. Participants will not receive vaccines as part of the study but will be asked to provide an annual blood specimen to help researchers understand how the immune system responds to vaccination, infection, and reinfection.

“This information will be vital for understanding how well vaccines work in the community over time, how long immunity lasts, and when boosters will be needed,” said Dr. Helen Y. Chu, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and co-lead on the study.

Individuals interested in participating in the study may do so by visiting www.cascadiastudy.org.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.5 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.

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