The study is underway among healthcare workers to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine against COVID-19 in Azerbaijan, Director of the Public Health and Reforms Center, Gahraman Hagverdiyev said while answering the questions about this large-scale research being conducted in Azerbaijan, Trend reports on July 22.
The first stage of the study, carried out by the Public Health and Reforms Center through the support of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, has been completed.
- What is the purpose of this study being conducted in Azerbaijan?
- This is a large-scale cohort study evaluating the effectiveness of the vaccine against COVID-19.
The project was proposed by the World Health Organization as part of the global study in accordance with the UNITY protocols.
The main objective of the study, which was carried out simultaneously in many European countries and taking into account the adaptation to the local conditions, was to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Other important points were also taken into account, for example, the assessment of the duration of medicine, age, the availability of concomitant diseases, etc.
That is, the purpose of the study was to analyze the characteristics of the COVID-19 infection and collect reliable data to contain it.
Despite the relative improvement in the epidemiological situation in the country, the COVID-19 pandemic continues, more and more dangerous strains are being revealed, there is a reason to believe that there is no alternative to mass vaccination.
- How is the study conducted and whom does it cover?
- The study involved medical and non-medical workers who work in hospitals in Baku. The study is being carried out among the employees of seven medical institutions - the united hospitals # 7, 15, 18, 23, 24, 26 and 29 of Baku.
The study involved 1,500 healthcare workers from healthcare facilities who were vaccinated against COVID-19 and signed a consent form.
Thus, the study will be conducted for 12 months. Participants in the study will be tested for antibodies for coronavirus three times a year (at the beginning of the project, six months later and a year later).
We have already collected blood samples for the first stage and we will soon receive the first test results.
- What measures will be taken during the next stages?
- During the study, participants will fill out a short questionnaire weekly. Moreover, their general condition will be monitored.
An extensive survey was conducted with the respondents in advance to find out whether they contracted COVID-19 during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether they had concomitant diseases, how often they had contact with patients and so on.
An important point of the study is that every week throughout the year we ask about their health condition, whether they have any symptoms of coronavirus infection.
If the answer is positive, we ask them to undergo the appropriate check-up.
So, in case of a positive result of PCR analysis, another control check-up is carried out. The samples for analysis are sent for storage during a year.
Thus, 1,500 medical workers will be under constant supervision throughout the year.
- Why did the World Health Organization choose medical workers to study the effectiveness of vaccines?
- Firstly, healthcare workers are one of the most vulnerable groups for a new type of coronavirus infection.
Second, in accordance with the National Vaccination Strategy, they were the first who were vaccinated.
The most significant thing is that the information about COVID-19 infection among healthcare workers is important not only to characterize the transmission of the virus and reveal the risk factors, but also to protect healthcare workers from new cases of infection.
- You have mentioned that similar studies are also being carried out in other European countries. At which level is the country’s cooperation envisaging the exchange of experience and information?
- Another online meeting was held last week, at which the European countries participating in the study presented a report on the progress of the project.
For the first time, the staff of the center presented a report on the successful implementation of the first stage.
Moreover, the study results will be published in the world's leading scientific journals.
In this regard, I would like to once again express my gratitude to everyone who supports us and the study participants, all representatives of our center who are actively involved in this work, as well as my European colleagues - experts who hold online meetings with us every week and help in our work.
The first stage is over, we are waiting for a new stage. I wish you success in this good and selfless work!
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