An Introduction to EAVE II
How the EAVE II team are using patient data to track the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine effectiveness across Scotland.
What is EAVE II?
- Video: What is EAVE II?
- A video briefly introducing the EAVE II project. Sound and subtitles are available.
EAVE II – Early Pandemic Evaluation and Enhanced Surveillance of COVID-19
The EAVE II team have successfully tracked the COVID-19 pandemic in near real-time, as well as the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, across Scotland. They have done this using a rich dataset of all 5.4 million people registered with a GP in Scotland, around 98% of the Scottish population. This has resulted in impactful findings that have been central to the Scottish and UK governments’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A key element of overcoming the pandemic in Scotland will be to understand how it is evolving in the country in near real-time. Our results will inform policymakers, clinicians and the public on the progress of the epidemic and the benefits of any interventions we take such as antiviral medicines or vaccines.
EAVE II is led by world-class researchers at the University of Edinburgh, working in collaboration with the Universities of St. Andrews, Strathclyde, and Aberdeen; Public Health Scotland; and the West of Scotland Specialist Virology Centre. The study is endorsed by the Scottish Government.
EAVE II also has its own Public Advisory Group (PAG). The PAG has 9 patients and members of the public who reside across the UK. They collaborate with EAVE II analysts and are actively involved in grant applications, designing the website, and contributing to our understanding of the public’s perspective of COVID-19. We hold regular virtual meetings, and two of our members sit on the Steering Group.
EAVE II’s findings
Throughout the pandemic, the team have worked diligently to develop and bring to light important understanding about COVID-19 in Scotland. The EAVE surveillance platform has enabled this detailed, nationwide, analysis, the first of its kind in the world. This has included the impact of COVID-19 in specific areas of Scotland, as well as breakdowns based on broad categories such as age, gender, race, and affluence.
One paper highlighted how the mass roll-out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in Scotland were linked to a significant reduction in the risk of COVID-19 hospitalisations, during the period of early 2021. By being able to focus on age ranges, the team found that hospital admissions had been reduced by 83% in those aged 80 and over. Estimates of this kind would not have been possible without the national scale of the dataset.
Another paper revealed the link between the vaccines and some adverse events, like clotting and bleeding, whilst emphasising the clear global benefit of having both doses of the vaccines.
The team are continuing to assess the data to answer policy-relevant questions about COVID-19 in Scotland.
EAVE II’s impact, so far
EAVE II has directly influenced the decision-making of the Scottish and UK governments, including helping to shape the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Several international countries – including France, Canada, and Germany – have altered their policy positions following publication of EAVE II findings, such as making the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine available to older people.
Some of the publications have been leading world-wide media stories, featuring in the New York Times and the BBC, raising public awareness of the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
EAVE II has shown, unequivocally, just how effective the COVID-19 vaccines are in the fight against the pandemic. We hope the strength of this evidence helps people to understand the need for as many individuals as possible to take up offers of vaccination.
What does the future hold?
With the COVID-19 pandemic still present, EAVE II’s work will be focused entirely on providing key data that will continue to be central to the Scottish and UK governments’ responses. EAVE II is looking to help Scotland and the UK be better prepared for future pandemics, should they arise.
Beyond this, Professor Aziz Sheikh believes there is significant scope for the data to be used for other circumstances and diseases.
Health systems are typically flying blind without access to the data they need or working from data that are out of date. This system could provide decision makers with more up-to-date data to help combat diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes in Scotland and across the UK.