Man shows bottle AstraZeneca vaccine

RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment is launching an extensive study today to research the long-term effectiveness of the various COVID-19 vaccines in the Netherlands. The Vaccination Study on COVID-19 (VASCO) is intended to provide insight for all age groups regarding the extent to which the different vaccines offer protection and how long that protection persists. The study will also look at whether and to what extent the vaccines offer protection against new variants of SARS-CoV-2. Anyone living in the Netherlands who is between 18 and 85 years old can take part in the study.

Never before has the entire population (aged 18 and over) been invited within a short time period to receive newly developed vaccines against a novel virus. In the context of VASCO, 50,000 Dutch people will be tracked for five years. This study will make it possible to monitor the (long-term) effectiveness of the vaccines in actual practice and compare the different vaccines, both in the general population and in risk groups. VASCO will be conducted by RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment in conjunction with Julius Clinical and Utrecht UMC.

Research on effectiveness in actual practice

The COVID-19 vaccines were tested for efficacy and safety prior to registration for use. Because the virus and the vaccines are new, the duration of protection is still unknown. Pre-registration studies involve limited research on the effect of the vaccines in risk groups, such as the elderly or people with underlying health conditions. That is why it is necessary to conduct studies that make it possible to monitor the (long-term) effectiveness of the vaccines in actual practice and compare the different vaccines, both in healthy people and in individuals who are in risk groups.

Study design

All Dutch residents aged 18 through 85 years can take part in the study. Participation is open to people who do get vaccinated, as well as people who do not get the vaccination. Participants will be tracked for 5 years. At the start of participation, data will be collected by means of a survey questionnaire (via an app or website) and a blood sample (self-sampling using a fingerprick set). This is necessary to take into account differences between people who have and have not been vaccinated (or not yet) and to determine whether a participant had previously had a coronavirus infection. This study is part of the evaluation of the national vaccination campaign and could contribute to future efforts to control the coronavirus.

Participating in the study

Potential participants can register at www.rivm.nl/vasco. In addition, sometime in the next few weeks, we will send a letter to a large number of (randomly selected) people in the Netherlands inviting them to participate in the study.