Evolution of the data and methods in real-world COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness studies on mortality: a scoping review protocol

Paulina Stehlik*, Caroline Dowsett, Ximena Camacho, Michael O Falster, Renly Lim, Sharifa Nasreen, Nicole L Pratt, Sallie-Anne Pearson, David Henry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Early evidence on COVID-19 vaccine efficacy came from randomised trials. Many important questions subsequently about vaccine effectiveness (VE) have been addressed using real-world studies (RWS) and have informed most vaccination policies globally. As the questions about VE have evolved during the pandemic so have data, study design, and analytical choices. This scoping review aims to characterise this evolution and provide insights for future pandemic planning-specifically, what kinds of questions are asked at different stages of a pandemic, and what data infrastructure and methods are used?

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will identify relevant studies in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health VIEW-hub database, which curates both published and preprint VE RWS identified from PubMed, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, the WHO COVID Database, MMWR, Eurosurveillance, medRxiv, bioRxiv, SSRN, Europe PMC, Research Square, Knowledge Hub, and Google. We will include RWS of COVID-19 VE that reported COVID-19-specific or all-cause mortality (coded as 'death' in the 'effectiveness studies' data set).Information on study characteristics; study context; data sources; design and analytic methods that address confounding will be extracted by single reviewer and checked for accuracy and discussed in a small group setting by methodological and analytic experts. A timeline mapping approach will be used to capture the evolution of this body of literature.By describing the evolution of RWS of VE through the COVID-19 pandemic, we will help identify options for VE studies and inform policy makers on the minimal data and analytic infrastructure needed to support rapid RWS of VE in future pandemics and of healthcare strategies more broadly.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: As data is in the public domain, ethical approval is not required. Findings of this study will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, and working-papers to policy makers.

REGISTRATION: https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/ZHDKR.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere079071
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2024


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