CDC is looking at how well COVID-19 vaccines work in different groups of people, such as, essential workers, racial and ethnic minority groups, and tribal nations. It is important to measure how COVID-19 vaccines work in groups of people who are more likely to get COVID-19, as well as in those who are more likely to get seriously ill if they get COVID-19. Through these studies in various populations, locations, and settings, CDC can obtain more representative, scientifically valid, and complete information about vaccine effectiveness.
CDC is rapidly assessing vaccine effectiveness among healthcare personnel working in healthcare settings. Healthcare personnel are more likely to get COVID-19 while taking care of patients. Healthcare personnel are among the groups that are providing a first look at how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions.
Essential non-healthcare workers are needed to maintain critical infrastructure, services, and functions. Essential workers may be more likely to get COVID-19 because they unable to work from home, are unable to keep at least 6 feet from others or are exposed to people with COVID-19 at their jobs, and often lack paid sick leave. Many essential workers are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Older adults and those living in nursing homes
Making sure COVID-19 vaccines protect older adults is critical, because people are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19 as they get older. People living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are much more likely to get COVID-19 and to have a severe illness. FDA and CMS are using CMS Medicare billing data to measure COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness among older adults, including those living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. These data include information about whether people are vaccinated against COVID-19, whether they got sick with COVID-19, and if they needed to receive care in a hospital for COVID-19. Experts are also conducting a case-control assessment using data from CDC and CMS. Experts will identify older adults hospitalized for COVID-19 and older adults hospitalized for other reasons. To estimate vaccine effectiveness, they will then compare how many in each of these groups received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Underlying medical conditions
Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. CDC is looking at how COVID-19 vaccines protect people who have heart conditions, obesity, diabetes, and other underlying medical conditions that place them at increased risk of severe illness.
Racial and ethnic minority groups
The proportion of people who become ill, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19 is higher among Hispanic or Latino, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native people than among non-Hispanic White people. Vaccine uptake among some racial and ethnic minority groups is also lower than among non-Hispanic White people. Experts are working to make sure real-world vaccine assessments include groups of adults from racial and ethnic minority groups. CDC also is working with the Indian Health Service, tribal nations, and other partners to ensure real-world COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness assessments include American Indian and Alaska Native populations. It is important real-world vaccine effectiveness studies include people from different racial and ethnic minority groups to ensure COVID-19 vaccines help achieve health equity.