Stop COVID Kentucky


PreventCovidU: A Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Study for Post-Secondary Students


This study is testing the effectiveness of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in infection and spread among healthy post-secondary students ages 18-26. It's sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Participants are compensated. Click on the button below to take a pre-screening survey and find out if you're eligible!

By signing up, you can help answer some of the biggest questions for getting back to life and help rewrite the future.


What are we hoping to learn from this study??

We want to know if the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine prevent spreading the virus to others.

We want to know if the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is able to protect people from getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19 disease) and if getting the vaccine will affect the amount of virus that is in the nose. We also want to know if getting the vaccine will prevent transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to others.

We already know that this vaccine can prevent serious COVID-19 disease, but we do not know if the vaccine will prevent the virus from shedding from the nose and mouth and infecting others. That is what we are testing in this study.


Am I eligible?

You may be eligible if you:

  • Are 18 through 26 years old
  • Are enrolled in post-secondary education
  • Are willing to complete all follow-up activites for the study
  • Agree to allow study staff to access your COVID-19 testing data and outcomes
  • Are able and willing to provie informed consent
  • Demonstrate understanding of the study and complete a questionnaire prior to first vaccination
  • Agree not to enroll in the study of another investigational research agent til the end of the study
  • Have access to a device and internet for telehealth visits

What might exclude people from the study?

  • Self-reported known history of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • Use of blood products, systemic immunoglobulins, or monoclonal antibodies (including against SARS-CoV-2) received within 90 days before first vaccination.
  • Investigational research agents received within 30 days before first vaccination.
  • Prior administration of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Immunosuppressive medications received within 168 days before first vaccination
  • Clinically significant medical conditions

If I join the study, what will I need to do?

If you decide to join the study:

  • You will be randomized into an immediate vaccination group or later vaccination group by a computer. This means you might be in a group that does not receive the vaccine until July 2021.
  • You will get vaccine injections.
  • You will be asked to answer daily questionnaires in an eDiary app.
  • You will be asked to take daily swabs of your nose and return them to the study staff for approximately four months.
  • You will be asked to provide blood samples.
  • You will be asked to follow your university’s SARS-CoV-2 testing program and get tested twice a week.
  • You will be asked to follow additional procedures should you test positive for SARS-CoV-2 during the study.
  • You will asked to identify close contacts who will be invited to play a role in the study. These close contact groups will help researchers determine if the vaccine given to the participants of the main study prevents transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to others.
  • We will compensate you for your participation.

Close Contacts

Identified close contacts will be invited to play a role in the study. They will be distinguished as either “prospective close contacts” (PCC), such as a roommate or a co-worker who could potentially become infected, or as a “case-ascertained close contact” (CACC), who is identified only if/when a main study participant tests positive for COVID-19.

Both groups of close contacts will be asked to:

  • Answer weekly questionnaires via eDiary.
  • Provide two blood samples and take daily swabs of their nose for two weeks*
  • Enrolled PCC participants will undergo routine screening for COVID-19 infection as part of their unviersity’s attendance or employment protocol for the five-month duration of the trial. CACC participants are asked to do this as well, during the month they’re in the study.
  • We will compensate close contacts for their participation.

*PCCs will be asked to do this if the main person (or they) become COVID-19 positive


Why is this study focusing on college campuses?

College students are an ideal population for the study because large numbers of COVID-19 cases have been reported on numerous campuses throughout the U.S., with a nationwide survey reporting more than 397,000 cases counted at 1,800+ universities after colleges reopened in the fall of 2020. And, while there are many populations who have a high risk of COVID-19 infection, young people are particularly at risk for getting and spreading the virus. For example, according to a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, between August and September 2020, COVID-19 cases among young people aged 18-22 years increased 55% nationally and during June-August 2020, young people aged 20-29 years had the highest incidence of disease in the U.S., accounting for more than 20% of all confirmed cases.


Will study participants be given SARS-CoV-2 as part of the study?

No. That type of study design is known as a challenge study, which is not what we are conducting. We expect that some people will be exposed to the virus in their everyday lives, and may become sick, but are not intentionally infecting study participants. The Moderna vaccine does not include live, weakened or whole virus.


Do study participants get paid?

Yes, people who join a study get compensated for their time and inconvenience. The amount per visit varies depending on how long the visit is and the procedures that take place. The amount also varies from city to city, because the cost of living is different between large metropolitan areas compared to smaller towns and rural areas. The details about compensation will be explained when a person goes through the informed consent process at a local clinic to join a study.


How does the study work?

PreventCOVIDU will be conducted at about 20 universities across the country.

It is a two-arm trial where half of the students will be randomly selected to receive the vaccine right away at enrollment, while the other half will get the vaccine four months later. All participants will know which arm of the trial they are in at enrollment and all will ultimately receive the vaccine.

Throughout the study period, all participants will complete questionnaires via the eDiary app and be required to provide blood samples.

Routine screening through existing university testing programs will also be required so that infections among study participants can be captured in real-time. In addition, study participants will be asked to collect daily nasal swabs that will be batched and sent to a central laboratory for further analysis, enabling CoVPN’s researchers to determine when the infection occurred, how much virus was present in the nose, and to perform genomic sequencing of the viral samples. Genomic sequencing will have the added benefit of demonstrating whether coronavirus variants of concern play a role in the vaccine’s ability to prevent infection and transmission.

Compensation will be provided for daily collection of swabs.

Because testing the vaccine’s effectiveness to reduce and/or prevent transmission requires measuring spread of the virus to others, about 25,500 individuals identified by participants in the main study as “close contacts” will also be invited to take part in the trial.

These individuals will be distinguished as either “prospective close contacts” (PCC), such as a roommate or a co-worker who could potentially become infected, or as a “case-ascertained close contact” (CACC), who is identified only when a main study participant tests positive for COVID-19.

Both groups of “close contacts” who agree to participate in the study will be asked to answer weekly questionnaires via eDiary, potentially provide two blood samples , and take daily swabs of their nose for two weeks. Enrolled PCC participants will undergo routine screening for COVID-19 infection as part of their attendance or employment at their university for the five-month duration of the trial. This will allow the college student participating in the main study and the research team to receive the same real-time clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 during the study. CACC enrollees will take part in the trial for one month.

While the study will enroll college students over a five-month period, results are expected later this year and are critical to explain the extent to which the vaccine may prevent asymptomatic infection and onward transmission of SARS-CoV-2. With the U.S. having the highest number of infections and deaths from COVID-19 disease of any nation in the world, this study is vital to making informed public policy decisions in the coming year. Should the vaccine be found to work primarily by reducing symptoms – preventing severe disease and saving the lives of those vaccinated but not curbing ongoing viral transmission — studies project that the number of asymptomatic infections could rise, which would increase transmission and prolong the pandemic.


Why are close contacts needed?

Because testing the vaccine’s effectiveness to reduce and/or prevent transmission requires measuring spread of the virus to others, about 25,500 individuals identified by participants in the main study as “close contacts” will also be invited to take part in the trial. Close contacts who have agreed to participate in the study will be asked to answer weekly questionnaires via eDiary; they may also be asked to provide two blood samples and take daily swabs of their nose for two weeks.


When will we have answers from the study?

While the study will enroll college students over a five-month period, results are expected later this year and are critical to explain the extent to which the vaccine may prevent asymptomatic infection and onward transmission of SARS-CoV-2. With the U.S. having the highest number of infections and deaths from COVID-19 disease of any nation in the world, this study is vital to making informed public policy decisions in the coming year. Should the vaccine be found to work primarily by reducing symptoms – preventing severe disease and saving the lives of those vaccinated but not curbing ongoing viral transmission — studies project that the number of asymptomatic infections could rise, which would increase transmission and prolong the pandemic.


Will this study take vaccine doses away from people in the community who would otherwise have gotten them?

No. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses being used in this study are owned by the US Government and have been earmarked specifically for research.


Is joining a study like being a guinea pig?

Unlike guinea pigs, people can say yes or no to joining a study. All study volunteers must go through a process called Informed Consent that ensures they understand all of the risks and benefits of being in a study, and those volunteers are reminded that they may leave a study at any time without losing any of their rights or benefits. The COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) takes great care to make sure people understand the study fully before they decide whether or not to join. All CoVPN studies follow US federal regulations on research, as well as international ethical standards and any country-specific requirements for the countries where our research is conducted.


Are vaccines safe?

It is true that vaccines often have side effects, but those are typically temporary (like a sore arm, low fever, muscle aches and pains) and go away after a day or two. Many studies have proven that there is no link between vaccines and autism.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ,link for more answers to questions about Vaccine Safety such as:

  • Is it safe for me to get the vaccine if I am pregnant or breast feeding?
  • Is it safe if I have an underlying medical condition?
  • Is there a risk of allergic reaction?

Will the Moderna vaccine alter my DNA?

No, it is not possible for the mRNA vaccines to impact a person’s DNA in any way. mRNA is a piece of genetic code that tells the muscle cells to make the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2 and display it for the immune system to see. It’s like a recipe for making food, with step by step instructions to follow. The vaccine doesn’t have any real ingredients that could cause infection, just the instructions. The vaccine goes to work in the outer part of muscle cells, and does not cross into the nucleus, where people’s DNA is located. You may also know that the mRNA vaccines need to be stored at very cold temperatures to keep them stable. This is because when they heat up, the mRNA starts to fall apart. Once the vaccine is given to a person, it starts to heat up in the body and dissolves within 1-3 days.


Is the vaccine safe if I want to have a baby one day?

Yes. People who want to get pregnant in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Based on current knowledge, experts believe that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to a person trying to become pregnant in the short or long term. Scientists study every vaccine carefully for side effects immediately and for years afterward, and people who get vaccinated track their symptoms. The COVID-19 vaccines are being studied carefully now, and the side effects data will continue to be studied for many years, similar to other vaccines.

There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problems with pregnancy. In addition, there is no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of ANY vaccine. People who are trying to become pregnant now or who plan to try in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.


If I receive the vaccine, how do I treat any side effects?

Rest, and in some cases, over-the-counter medication (examples: acetaminophen, ibuprofen) might help if you have a fever or aches and pains. These medicines should not be used before getting a vaccine, only afterward to treat side effects.


Should I be worried about allergic reactions to the vaccine?

The risk of allergic reaction is extremely low. Talk to your doctor if you have a history of allergic reactions or anaphylaxis before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. There are guidelines in place that may require you to be observed for more than 15 minutes after vaccination in the event of a reaction so that it can be immediately treated.

Relevant statistics

Moderna: 10 cases of allergic reaction with 4 million doses delivered (0.0003%). In 9 of those 10 cases, the reaction occurred within 15 minutes.


Where can I get more information?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has answers to more questions you may have. Find answers on the CDC website:

Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ about COVID-19 Vaccinations

For additional information, visit PreventCovidU.org