UVM Vaccine Testing Center Thanks Participants in COVID-19 Vaccine Study

Words of Gratitude to Volunteers and all at UVM Medical Center who made COVID-19 Vaccine Study Successful.

In the fall of 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UVM Vaccine Testing Center (VTC) began participating as one of the research sites needed to evaluate the efficacy of one of the new COVID-19 vaccines, from AstraZeneca. Our task was to enroll volunteers thought to be at the highest risk of COVID-19 illness. From the start, this was the largest and most rapid effort undertaken by our 20-year-old VTC research team.

Time was of the essence, and for a study of this scale and importance, a new physical clinic site had to be established and outfitted immediately. A large team of study staff had to be hired and extensively trained. Volunteers willing to be vaccinated had to be identified. Each volunteer had to commit significant time and effort to be educated on the risks and benefits of this trial, and needed to be willing to participate throughout the length of the study.

To our surprise and gratitude, more than3,000 individuals from Vermont and surrounding regions of New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire stepped forward to volunteer; an overwhelmingly positive response. Ultimately, approximately 300 individuals participated and generously committed their time during the past two years to support understanding the effectiveness of this vaccine candidate.

As this study closes this December 2022, the UVM Vaccine Testing Center research team owes a true debt of gratitude to many individuals and teams:

  • First and foremost, to all of the enrolled volunteers. For your tireless commitment, willingness to engage with the study team, and support of the research efforts to understand this vaccine: We thank you! While many volunteers came from the UVMMC community, others traveled up to six hours by car for site visits, in all seasons. Many of you lifted our spirits with your insightful questions, personal stories, and good humor.
  • Next, to all those from across Vermont and New England who volunteered but could not participate, for whatever reason. We thank you for your willingness to volunteer and support this effort.
  • Finally, our thanks to the UVM Medical Center, whose multiple staff members assisted all aspects of this study, including an incredibly fast set-up of a large clinic dedicated to this effort, and all of its medical and IT infrastructure-all done during a very difficult time (including a cyberattack). This includes individuals from UVMMC’s Communication, Facilities, Information Technology, Investigational Pharmacy, and Clinical Research  teams. A special thanks to the support of Kim Luebbers, Assistant Dean for Clinical Research/Director of the Clinical Research Center as well as the essential and unfailing support of UVMMC leadership, especially  Steve Leffler and Lisa Goodrich.

    With appreciation,

    On behalf of our entire UVM Vaccine Testing Center team,

                 - Beth Kirkpatrick, M.D., Kristen Pierce, M.D., and Mary Claire Walsh, P.A.

    AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Study team

    Pictured above: The AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Study Team, UVM Vaccine Testing Center

    Top row (L to R): Marcia Dunham, Cindy Reynolds,  Kristin Kahla, Beth Kirkpatrick, MaryClaire Walsh, Patti Lutton, Joan Bertolet, Jiawen Yu, Lisa Smith.

    Bottom row: Megan Hinton, Michele Couriveau, Cassandra Ventrone, Kristen Pierce, Dorothy Dickson, Sunday Whipkey, Christine Tanna, Joanna Pierce.

    Team members missing from the photo are: Rose Bergeron, Sean Bullis, Mary Carmolli, Gina DeMilt, Betsy Cutler, Janet DuPont, Jon Ford, Jess Faraci, Mohit Jindal, Ethan Jones, Donna Kaynor, Caroline Lyon, Timothy Mallard, Kim Luebbers, Ashley Miles, Kate Peterson, Angela Pratt, Rachel Stringer.