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“One of the aspects we will look at is the duration of protection given by the vaccine, and another is vaccination coverage in various groups. We will also try to develop models that make it possible to carry out these evaluations in real time. Even if the most recent wave of covid-19 infection is clearly diminishing, and the vaccines seem to be effective against the currently widespread variants, several challenges remain, and our results can make a difference”, says Thomas Schön, professor at LiU and consultant in the infectious diseases clinics in Kalmar and Östergötland. He is principal applicant for the project.
Researchers working in the project will combine information about Covid-19 vaccination with population and healthcare data in the three counties that make up the South-eastern Healthcare Region (Östergötland, Jönköping and Kalmar). More than 1.3 million people live in this region. The information will be analysed with the aid of system modelling and machine learning. The interdisciplinary components will be coordinated by Toomas Timpka, professor in the Department of Health, Medicine and Caring Sciences at LiU.
“The project is based on the information platform for medical care that has been built up by researchers and technology experts during the past two decades. This platform makes it possible to conduct epidemiology analyses with very short lead times. In a broader perspective, the method provides completely new opportunities for practical work in public health, where new health hazards can be discovered at an early stage and interventions evaluated shortly after being implemented”, he says.
The project, “Real-time evaluation of COVID-19 vaccination in Swedish healthcare regions based on an information platform that supports system modelling and machine learning”, is one of six that have been awarded a total of SEK 100 million from the Swedish Research Council to follow up vaccines against Covid-19.
“The grant is an amazing opportunity for studies of Covid-19, by in-depth collaboration between the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and the complete South-eastern Healthcare Region. We hope that the results will soon be put to use in optimising vaccination strategies, which will benefit the medical care system and, not least, the public”, says Thomas Schön.
Translation by George Farrants