Regenstrief Institute launches an online survey on COVID

(photo courtesy of the Regenstrief Institute)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University have launched a second online survey to gather data about COVID-19 symptoms, behaviors, and vaccine attitudes. As they did with the pilot survey last April, the questionnaire is being distributed through banner ads on Microsoft News.

Researchers say the broad approach on MSN.com allows them to gather large quantities of data from across the U.S. quickly.

“The pilot project indicates this is a viable method to gather crucial public health data,” said Dr. Shaun Grannis, vice president of data and analytics at Regenstrief. “In this second survey, we continue to receive a large number of responses providing insight into a population that we might not have access to otherwise.”

Regenstrief says the voluntary and anonymous survey generated 87,000 responses, which provided insight into the prevalence of the disease when testing was still limited.

One question in the survey asked, ‘Do you know anyone who has been affected by COVID-19?’ Regenstrief says about two-thirds of respondents said yes, an indication of just how prevalent the disease is.

In addition to questions about symptoms, the new survey also asks about attitudes toward vaccines as well as individual behaviors, such as mask usage.

“Many of the respondents are older than 50, a group at higher risk for more serious cases of COVID-19 and eligible for vaccination in many states,” said Brian Dixon, director of public health informatics at Regenstrief Institute. “The data so far indicate that more than half of individuals would take a vaccine today if it were offered to them, information that is reassuring to public health experts, especially considering the respondents’ age.”

On Wednesday, Governor Eric Holcomb announced any Indiana resident age 50 and older is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is the second expansion of the program this week. On Tuesday, the state said it was opening the program to Hoosiers 55 years of age and older.