Researchers study college students to learn what is safe after vaccination; IU picked to participate

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Twelve-thousand college students from across the country will help determine what people everywhere can do once they’re vaccinated.

Among the study’s participants will be roughly 600 students from Indiana University.

Twenty-two schools from across the country are part of the study. To start, 6,000 students will be vaccinated and then a group of 6,000 more will get their shots a few months later.

The volunteers will give three blood samples over the span of five months. They’ll participate in mitigation testing on campus twice a week and provide a nasal swab to researchers every day.

They will also share a list of close contacts for researchers to monitor.

An IU assistant professor of epidemiology, Molly Rosenberg said although the vaccines have proven to be effective, it’s unclear whether they prevent asymptotic infections. She said learning that answer is the key to getting back to normal life.

“This is sort of like the unanswered question that is keeping us from being able to tell people who are vaccinated to be able to, you know, stop wearing masks or take other sort of take preventative action they wouldn’t otherwise need to take,” Rosenberg said.

She said college students are the perfect group to study.

“The aspect of it sort of being a closed population is sort of attractive for researchers,” Rosenberg said. “We are trying to get as much information in this relatively short window while they are still unvaccinated people so we can answer this question quickly and inform sort of our scientific policies on this stuff while we still can.”

She said several students have already signed up to take part in the research, but the university is still accepting and looking for more participants.

Rosenberg said they hope to begin the study next week.