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HERO-TOGETHER study seeks health care workers who receive COVID-19 vaccine

Dec. 21, 2020, 12:42 PM


by Kathy Whitney

Health care workers, who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, will be the first tier of Vanderbilt University Medical Center employees to receive vaccine to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection.

VUMC, which started administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine last week, is participating in the HERO-TOGETHER study to understand the experiences of health care workers for two years after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

HERO-TOGETHER will enroll health care workers who plan to receive any COVID-19 vaccine or have received the vaccine in the past 60 days. Participants will answer surveys over the next two years about their health and any unexpected medical care they may receive.

“By taking part in HERO-TOGETHER, health care workers help researchers understand how people — including men, women, older people, people from various racial and ethnic groups and people with chronic diseases — do after vaccination,” said Spyros Kalams, MD, associate professor of Medicine and director of Viral Immunology Studies in the Vanderbilt Infectious Disease division.

“As we learn more about experiences from people who are vaccinated, we can answer questions to address this urgent public health crisis and learn how to best protect communities,” said Russell Rothman, MD, director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Medicine and Public Health and co-chair of the HERO Research Program Steering Committee.

Approximately 20,000 health care workers will take part in HERO-TOGETHER. For the purposes of this study, a “health care worker” is defined as any individual who currently works in a setting where individuals receive health care.

HERO-TOGETHER builds from the PCORI-funded HERO Registry, a community of health care workers who have been engaged since April 2020 to share their experiences and perspectives related to COVID-19 (see HERO Registry members, study participants, and affiliated health care systems receive ongoing updates and learnings from the Registry.

Anyone who is 18 or older and works in a health care setting can join the HERO Registry. Those who receive a vaccine for COVID-19 can self-enroll in HERO-TOGETHER at the vaccination site or through the participant portal at

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