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Public Health Researcher Recruiting 1,000 UMD Students for COVID Vaccine Study

By Maryland Today Staff

Starting this week, a School of Public Health researcher is looking to sign up 1,000 University of Maryland students ages 18-26 to participate in a nationwide study to learn if the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is able to protect people from infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as well as prevent its transmission to others.

The three COVID vaccines now in use in the United States are effective at preventing most infections in those who are vaccinated, or heading off serious symptoms if infection does occur, but questions remain about how effective the vaccines are at stopping transmission of the virus.

It’s the first large-scale study of its kind, enrolling nearly 40,000 participants at 21 universities across the U.S., said Neil J. Sehgal, assistant professor of health policy and management and associate director of the Health Systems and Policy Research Lab, who is leading the UMD component of the study.

“This is an opportunity for young people to redefine the trajectory of the pandemic,” he said. “If we learn that vaccination truly limits transmission—like we suspect, but have limited evidence to support—it is young people that will be responsible for helping us get back to life and for putting the pandemic behind us.”

Half of those who enroll will receive an immediate vaccination, while the other half will be vaccinated four months later. Among the requirements of the study, students will identify people who are close contacts, answer questions in a weekly eDiary and provide blood samples and nose swabs for two weeks in the event of positive COVID test. Students will receive up to $1,000 in compensation.

To join the study visit PreventCOVIDU.org, click ‘Volunteer’, and fill out the registration form selecting University of Maryland from the list of participating universities. For more information email preventcovid@umd.edu.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Strategic Communications for the University of Maryland community weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.