At a time of both hyperbole and skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines, an ensemble of some of America’s most trusted vaccine experts has launched the COVID-19 Vaccine Analysis Team, or COVAT, to provide rapid expert analysis, perspective and communication for emerging information on COVID-19 vaccines. COVAT aims to objectively analyze rapidly evolving, challenging and complex science for the public, media, health care providers and elected officials. The goal is to provide unbiased analysis that can enhance understanding and decisions of both policymakers and the public.
COVAT is chaired by former FDA Chief Scientist, Jesse L. Goodman, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center. Goodman is also a former Deputy Commissioner for Science and Public Health and a previous director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) at FDA. COVAT is co-chaired by John D. Grabenstein, RPh, PhD, general manager of Vaccine Dynamics and editor for Immunization Action Coalition. He was previously Global Executive Director of Medical Affairs for Merck Vaccines and before that led military immunization programs for the US Department of Defense. Joining Goodman and Grabenstein are Norman Baylor, PhD; Luciana Borio, MD; Miles Braun, MD, MPH; Bruce Gellin, MD, MPH; Peter Hotez, MD, PhD; Glen Nowak, PhD; Paul A. Offit, MD; and Walter A. Orenstein, MD. The group brings together a group of experts with deep mutlidisciplinary knowledge of vaccines ranging from basic science to medicine and public health, and with both on the ground and senior leadership experience in multiple sectors including FDA, CDC, HHS, academia, and health departments. Meet our Experts here.
With the goal of helping provide the public with knowledge and tools needed to be wise consumers of information, COVAT commits to rapid analysis and expert assessment of emerging information for the media, accessible commentaries and articles published in academic journals and/or media outlets, and information dissemination on the COVAT website and blog.
COVAT analyses will rely on publicly available information and the group’s expertise. They may take the form of issue papers addressing topics relevant across multiple products, or analyses of specific reports or events addressing issues including:
- What is the new event, report or claim?
- What is the potential importance?
- What are the strengths of the findings or claims?
- What are the weaknesses and what gaps in data or understanding may remain?
- What can we conclude, or not conclude, from the report or claim?
- What are the implications both for individuals, different populations, and the medical and public health response?
- What, if any, are the important next steps and/or data needed?
COVAT is not intended to assume, supplant or play any role in regulatory decision-making.
Members of the media, elected political leaders and public health officials can reach COVAT by emailing COVATnow@gmail.com.