The Vaccine Evaluation Center (VEC) is committed to building a world without vaccine-preventable diseases. Our research and evaluation projects span across all age groups and include laboratory science, clinical trials, epidemiologic studies, social sciences, program implementation and surveillance.

Chart demonstrating that translational clinical research is a continuum, the scientific community has defined phases of translational research as T0 through T4.

Explore our current research based on disease type and area of focus.

COVID-19 | Influenza | Meningococcal | HPV | Pneumococcal | Varicella | Whooping Cough | Vaccine Confidence | Vaccine Surveillance

COVID-19 Research

COVID-19 is the infectious disease identified in December 2019 that is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic due to the rapid increase in the number of cases globally. The spectrum of illness associated with COVID-19 has spanned mild and non-specific flu-like illness to severe manifestations, including acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and death.

Learn more about COVID-19

 

The CANVAS COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Study

The Canadian National Vaccine Safety (CANVAS) Network is a national research platform that monitors vaccine safety after vaccines are approved for use. We are monitoring the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines in Canada and we need YOUR help.

Why are we doing this study?

The purpose of this study is to find out how often health problems occur after a COVID-19 vaccine. This could provide information on frequency and severity of adverse events from COVID-19 vaccines.

The CANVAS surveillance network complements Canada’s passive vaccine safety surveillance system with rapid information early in the COVID-19 vaccine campaign.

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Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines in Pregnancy SummaryFrench Summary

The SPRING Study

The SPRING study will help researchers better understand rates of COVID-19 infections amongst children and youth in BC.

Why are we doing this study?

While highly infectious in adults, only 1 – 5% of COVID cases have been children ages 19 or younger. In Many COVID-19 cases in children, as well as in adults, have been mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic (without symptoms). This study will help inform public health guidance for schools and work.

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The MOSAIC Study

The MOSAIC study is comparing the effectiveness, safety, and acceptability of different dosing schedules and different combinations of the COVID-19 vaccines that are available in Canada.

Why are we doing this study?

Data has shown the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against severe disease up to 6 months after vaccination, however, there is some evidence of decreasing antibody levels. Additionally, implementing recommended immunization schedules has been challenging due to factors such as vaccine shortage and vaccine mixing. The goals of this study are to help researchers understand the immune response to COVID-19 after vaccination with different intervals and vaccines between the first and second dose, and to help guide future policies and recommendations for how these vaccines are used.

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PREVENT-COVID

As older adults are more vulnerable to COVID-19, researchers would like to better understand the short- and long-term immune response to COVID-19 vaccines in adults over 50 years old.

Why are we doing this study?

The goals of the study are to help researchers understand older adults’ immunity to COVID-19 after vaccination and to help guide policies and recommendations for how these vaccines are used.

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COVID-19 Health Policy

The COVID-19 Health Policy aims to understand communities’ experiences with public health measures and considerations for future pandemics.

Why are we doing this study?

Public health measures are put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. These measures are important but can create challenges for communities. Through interviews, focus groups and a review of news media articles and policy documents, the study team will learn:

  • How public health rules are different or similar in Canada, China and Bangladesh.
  • What people know about the public health rules and how their lives were affected by them.
  • What people think about these public health rules.
  • How public health rules can be changed to meet the needs of different groups of people.
  • Things that can be done to support people taking care of someone with COVID-19.

This information may be useful in helping governments plan for future pandemics.

COVID-19 Assay Validation

As COVID-19 continues to spread and quickly evolve within our province, rapid development of SARS-CoV-2 blood testing is of critical importance, particularly as it pertains to the ability of our laboratories to analyze SARS-CoV-2 blood test results, and understand how the immune system responds to it.

Why are we doing this study?

We are collecting information, blood and respiratory specimens from patients who have been diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2, in order to develop a deeper understanding of their blood test results. The results of this study will help to validate antibody tests for infection as well as identify and track subsequent waves of the virus, and help doctors and researchers understand the immune response to the disease – which could help development of future treatments and/or vaccines.

The SHARE Study: COVID-19 Household Transmission

The SHARE study aims to understand how much COVID-19 infection spreads between people living within the same household and discover if there are differences between those who become infected and those who do not.

Why are we doing this study?

Lockdowns across the globe slowed the spread of COVID-19. However, household contact is often unavoidable in shared living spaces. Understanding household interactions and dynamics may help reduce the spread of disease.

COVID-19 Special Immunization Clinic (SIC)

Through the SIC Network across Canada, this study is collecting information about the assessment of patients who experienced side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, the safety of re-vaccinating patients who have had a side effect, and to find the best way to manage patients with conditions that may affect their response to vaccination or their risk of a side effect.

Why are we doing this study?

The SIC Network was established in 2013 by infectious disease specialists and allergists to improve immunization practices for patients who had experienced adverse events following immunization and those who have medical conditions that may affect their response to immunizations. SIC physicians conduct standard patient assessments, and evaluate vaccine safety in patients with previous adverse events.

COVID-19 Vaccine Perceptions in Minority Communities and Online Discourses

This study will identify British Columbians’ information needs, values, beliefs, and experiences related to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination.

Why are we doing this study?

Rumours, misinformation, and xenophobia (fear or dislike of foreign people or foreign cultures) have spread along with COVID-19. As a result, certain communities that face barriers to equal access, opportunities and resources may experience pandemic countermeasures differently from other communities.

The study team would like to better understand:

  • How various factors affect people and their communities differently in terms of their experience during the pandemic and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination.
  • What do people think about the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • What information do people and their communities need to make their decisions regarding COVID-19 vaccination?
  • How can public health and health care providers better communicate about COVID-19 vaccination to these communities?

View preliminary results

COVID-19 Immunity Passport Study

The implementation of safety measures during the pandemic has had serious impact on all aspects of society. The implementation of the new vaccine passports have been widely accepted in communities, however, its impact not yet been adequately researched.

Why are we doing this study?

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the ethical, legal and public health implications of the use of immunization passports in Canada and provide guidance on potential design and evaluation strategies for Canada.

COVID-19 Vaccination Among Youth 20-29 Years Old in Island Health Region

This research project aims to understand the reason for undervaccination among young adults in certain regions and inform interventions within the Island Health region.

Why are we doing this study?

For many British Columbia residents in their 20’s, COVID-19 vaccination will represent their first vaccine decision made independently of parent/guardians. Currently, vaccinations intentions among young adults varies between BC health authorities. It is important that researchers understand how this age group makes their vaccination decisions in order to increase vaccine uptake.

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Influenza

Influenza (flu) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by an influenza virus. A person infected with influenza is at risk for further infections, including viral or bacterial pneumonia, which is infection of the lungs. Children are especially vulnerable and at greater risk of flu complications. 

Learn more about influenza

 

The CANVAS Flu Study - 2020 Season

The CANVAS flu study aims to find out how often adverse events (side effects) occur after an influenza flu shot.

Why are we doing this study?

Influenza virus vaccines have been proven to be effective, however, there is an ongoing need to continue monitoring vaccine safety. Researchers want to be clear on what side effects are to be expected in seasonal flu shots.

10 year flu follow-up study

The 10 year flu follow-up study aims to better understand previous participants’ antibody response to different strains of the influenza virus.

Why are we doing the study?

There are 2 kinds of influenza A viruses and 2 kinds of influenza B viruses (“B/Yamagata” and “B/Victoria). Each winter, the influenza vaccine is changed according to which viruses experts think will be circulating.

The purpose of the study is to see if children who participated in our 2008 study called TITRE and those who were primed with B/Yamagata produce a good antibody response to the new B/Victoria vaccine strain included in the 2018-2019 influenza vaccine.

Adjuvanted Influenza Vaccine Study

This study compares two licensed flu vaccines to find out which one provides better protection for young children.

Why are we doing this study?

Influenza (flu) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by an influenza virus. Children are especially vulnerable and at greater risk of flu complications.

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Meningococcal

A germ called meningococcus (Neisseria meningitides) can cause many serious diseases, including meningitis and septicemia (blood poisoning). Meningitis affects the brain and spinal cord. It can cause hearing loss, seizures, learning and behavior problems, severe brain damage and even death. Death is caused in about half of the cases if left untreated.

Learn more about meningococcal disease

 

 

Meningococcal Vaccine Comparison in Adolescents

This study compares the 3 different meningococcal vaccines currently being offered to teenagers across Canada.

Why are we doing this study?

Meningococcal disease is often severe and can be deadly. Researchers at the Vaccine Evaluation Center would like to find out if there are any differences between these 3 vaccines, and if any of them are better than the others.

MenB Protection Review for WHO

This review analyzes available evidence to identify the safety and effectiveness of both meningococcal B vaccines across different age groups.

Why are we doing this study?

One of the leading causes of meningitis is Neisseria meningitides, which the World Health Organization (WHO) aims to eliminate meningitis by 2030. Vaccines have been introduced to protect against the disease, however, there is a lack of optimal protection and universal coverage.

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HPV

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI), with an estimated lifetime risk of 80% among sexually active individuals. Females and males are both susceptible to HPV. Globally, HPV is one of the leading causes of cancer. HPV can cause several different kinds of cancer, including oral, cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, and anal cancer. Almost all (99%) of cervical cancers are caused by HPV.

Learn more about HPV

 

QUEST: 10 Year HPV Vaccine Evaluation

The national Quadrivalent HPV Vaccine Evaluation Study (QUEST) is following participants for up to 10 years after their first HPV vaccine in order to assess HPV risk, HPV prevalence, and whether two doses of the vaccine Gardasil provides similar protection as three doses against human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer.

Why are we doing this study?

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most commonly sexually transmitted infections (STI) and Current HPV vaccine is recommended on a three dose schedule, a decrease in dosage can make HPV vaccines more accessible. The study aims to answer the following questions:

  • Are two doses of HPV vaccine enough to provide continued protection?
  • What level of HPV disease is present in the vaccinated population?
  • Is there a difference between the groups that had two doses of the vaccine, versus those that had three?

QUEST-ADVANCE

The QUEST-ADVANCE study is looking at the differences in HPV vaccine dosing schedules. Women ages 20-27 and men ages 15-20 are invited to participate in this observational study regardless of whether or not they have received the HPV vaccine.

Why are we doing this study?

The elimination of cervical cancer has been listed by the World Health Organization as a top health priority and Canada is posed to be one of the first countries to achieve this goal. Ongoing evaluation of the HPV vaccine and dosing schedule is critical to optimizing the vaccine’s cancer-eliminating potential.

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Determinants of HPV Vaccine Uptake in School-Based Programs in Canada

This study aims to understand parents’ and students’ thoughts about the HPV vaccine, whether the information received at school is helpful at making informed decisions regarding the HPV vaccine, and parents’ and students’ thoughts about school vaccination clinics.

Why are we doing this study?

Grade 6 Students in BC are eligible to receive Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (shot) through school vaccination clinics. As schools are one of the primary education source of young children, researchers are interested in HPV vaccine education and public opinion.

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Pneumococcal

Pneumococcal disease is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae (SP). This is a major cause of infection of the ears, sinuses, blood, lungs, and brain. Children under 2 years of age have the highest rates of disease. Even with treatment, many children with severe disease may die or experience severe complications, such as meningitis, pneumonia, septicemia (blood poisoning), hearing loss, or brain damage.

Learn more about pneumococcal disease

 

PPV23 Vaccine in Children at Risk for Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD)

This study is evaluating the immune response after administration of Pneumococcal Polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23) in children or young adults who are at an increased risk of pneumococcal disease.

Why are we doing this study?

Children or young adults who are at an increased risk of pneumococcal disease are recommended to receive additional pneumococcal vaccine doses outside of the regular immunization schedule to ensure greater protection from pneumococcal disease. Medical conditions such as immunocompromising conditions or diabetes have been shown to result in an increased risk for developing pneumococcal disease.

Pneumococcal Vaccine Study

This study evaluates a new vaccine to protect children against pneumococcal disease, which is a major cause of septicemia (blood poisoning), meningitis, pneumonia, and ear infections.

Why are we doing the study?

Children under 2 years of age have the highest rates of pneumococcal disease caused by streptococcus pneumoniae (SP).

The currently approved vaccine (Prevnar® 13) protects against 13 types of SP, and is more than 90% effective in protecting infants and young children against pneumococcal disease caused by these 13 SP types. However, the new vaccine, called SP0202, may provide protection against 8 more types of SP bacteria.

PCV13 Study

This study is evaluating the effectiveness of fewer vaccine doses for providing the same protection against pneumococcal disease.

Why are we doing this study?

Pneumococcal disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide especially in young children <5 years. Although the vaccine is given as 3 shots at 2, 4, and 12 months of age, researchers would like to find out if it is possible to achieve the same protection using just 2 shots at 2 and 12 months.

PCV15 Study

This study evaluates a new vaccine to protect children against pneumococcal disease, which is a major cause of septicemia (blood poisoning), meningitis, pneumonia, and ear infections.

Why are we doing this study?

Children under 2 years of age have the highest rates of pneumococcal disease caused by streptococcus pneumoniae (SP). The current vaccine (Prevnar13®) is more than 90% effective in protecting infants and young children against 13 types of SP. Researchers would like to evaluate a newer vaccine to protect children against 15 types of SP.

PATH Pneumococcal Vaccine Study

This study is evaluating a new vaccine to protect against 25 strains of SP bacteria.

Why are we doing this study?

Researchers at the VEC and the University of British Columbia will help to evaluate a new vaccine to protect against 25 strains of streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. There is a vaccine approved in Canada that protects against the diseases caused by 20 types of SP. However, there are many types of SP responsible for diseases not covered by this vaccine.

Learn more 

 

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Varicella

Varicella, also known as chickenpox, is a very common and highly infectious childhood disease that is found worldwide. The defining symptom is a characteristic blister-like rash, which can cause severe irritation. Approximately one in 200 children who got the disease were hospitalized every year with 1-2 deaths occurring annually.

Learn more about Varicella

 

Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) in Solid Organ Transplant (SOT)

This study is investigating how health care providers and caregivers will accept chickenpox vaccination, as well as evaluating the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness in children with transplants.

Why are we doing this study?

Chickenpox, or varicella, was once a common childhood illness. In children with weakened immune systems, it can be even worse and has been known to cause complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis and even death.

Doctors have historically not given this vaccine to children with transplants, however, new studies are showing that it is actually safe and effective for certain patients.

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Whooping Cough

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a respiratory illness caused by Bordetella pertussis. Symptoms include prolonged cough, and in infants can cause breathing pause and death. Pertussis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in infants < 3 months of age, who are below the age of recommended pertussis immunization. The Tdap vaccine is recommended as an important part of a healthy pregnancy, protecting pregnant people and their child against three potentially life-threatening bacterial diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).

Learn more about whooping cough

 

Tdap in pregnancy in Uganda in HIV positive/negative women

This study aims to understand the function of antibodies induced following Tdap immunization during pregnancy, and explore if there are differences between HIV-positive and HIV-negative women.

Why are we doing this study?

While vaccines have been proven to be effective against pertussis, there has been no evidence of correlate of protection and mechanism is unknown.

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Vaccine Confidence

It's normal to have questions and concerns about vaccines. Vaccine confidence is the belief that vaccines are effective and safe.

Understanding factors that influence vaccine decision-making, such as cultural, social, and political factors, is important for building stronger provincial and national vaccination programs.

 

Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy in an Indigenous Community

In partnership with Cowichan community members and Elders, this project’s goals are to learn more about vaccine hesitancy in the community and to contribute to capacity building for future participatory action and community-based research in Cowichan Tribes.

Why are we doing this study?

In recent years, fewer people in the Cowichan Community are getting their shots. This study aims to understand why people choose to get or not get vaccinated.

Unpacking Vaccine Hesitancy Among Perinatal Healthcare Providers

This study aims to understand how perinatal healthcare providers’ (HCPs) perceptions of prenatal and infant vaccination are formed and to explore their perceptions of information interventions aimed at decreasing parents’ vaccine hesitancy as well as encouraging HCPs to recommend vaccination.

Why are we doing this study?

Healthcare providers (HCPs) are known to play a crucial role in fostering vaccine acceptance among parents. Previous research indicates that pregnant women want more and clearer vaccine advice from the doctors, nurses, and midwives providing care from pregnancy through the immediate postpartum period, when many mothers struggle with prenatal vaccination questions and begin making their infant vaccination decisions.

When HCPs communicate effectively about the value and need for vaccinations parents are more confident in their decisions. However, research indicates that HCPs need more training and information support in order to feel confident recommending and administering vaccines.

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Vaccine Surveillance

Before a vaccine can be given to you or your family, it must be proven to be safe and to work. However, every vaccine is monitored after it's approved for use.

This is an important part of immunization research to ensure the highest standards of safety and quality. As an independent academic center, we are well situated to objectively monitor the quality of our vaccine products and programs.

 

Mandatory Vaccine Documentation Study

In 2019, British Columbia introduced a regulatory mechanism under the provincial Public Health Act mandating documentation of immunization for school enrolment. This intervention is being evaluated in this study.

Why are we doing this study?

The study aims to measure any change in vaccination rates and vaccinations attitudes, after implementation of the policy as well as monitoring for potential unintended consequences (e.g., clustering of unvaccinated populations, implications for the public health workforce).

An Intervention to Protect Every Pregnancy

This study evaluates the adaption of a new intervention method, MumBubVax, in the Canadian system to increase vaccine uptake.

Why are we doing this study?

Many pregnant parents struggle with questions regarding vaccination during pregnancy. Interventions to promote vaccination during prenatal visits provide an opportunity to improve vaccine uptake throughout childhood.

This intervention will be evaluated to inform a future, larger, randomized controlled trial of the intervention.

Special Immunization Clinic

This study is collecting information from patients who are attending the Special Immunization Clinic (SIC) due to concerns around receiving vaccines. Researchers are combining the information they get from patient visits, with that of similar patients across Canada, in order to help doctors improve care for other patients who have vaccine concerns in the future.

Why are we doing this study?

While vaccines have decreased diseases around the world and are generally considered safe, there are a few cases of serious and severe side effects from vaccination. People who have had serious side effects are sometimes anxious about whether or not to have more vaccines, and there is currently little scientific data to help these people decide what to do next.

Creating a Digitally Enhanced AEFI Surveillance System in Canada

This study is examining opportunities for the use of digital technology in adverse event following immunization (AEFI) surveillance in Canada. It has a specific focus on digitally facilitated participant-centred reporting in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.

Why are we doing this study?

Serious adverse events following immunization are rare, but do occur. Therefore, good quality surveillance is necessary and critical in detecting and understanding rare and more common adverse events. Digital technology, which has transformed society and healthcare, offers the potential to enhance and improve AEFI surveillance.

IMPACT: Surveillance of AEFIs and VPD Hospitalizations in Children

IMPACT, Canada’s Immunization Monitoring Program ACTive, is a paediatric hospital-based national active surveillance network for adverse events following immunization, vaccine failures and selected infectious diseases that are, or will be, vaccine preventable.

Why are we doing this study?

IMPACT monitors vaccine safety and the pattern of diseases that are currently or potentially vaccine-preventable in children. IMPACT complements existing national surveillance systems, supports public health action, informs policy dialogue with Federal, Provincial, Territorial and other national stakeholders, and assists in meeting Canada’s international commitments for vaccine safety monitoring and disease reporting.

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