University of Utah study seeks health care workers and frontline employees who haven’t had the COVID-19 vaccine yet

Those who take part in 9-month study will be compensated up to $400.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Captain Jason Burton and Sgt. 1st Class Sean Conorich working at a COVID-19 testing site run by the Utah National Guard at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.

The University of Utah is seeking health care workers, first responders and frontline workers who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 for a nine-month study — a tall order, considering many of those workers were among the first people eligible for the vaccine.

Finding and recruiting non-vaccinated health care workers “is our greatest challenge,” said Dr. Sarang Kim Yoon, director of the RECOVER COVID-19 study, being mounted by the U.’s Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational & Environmental Health (RMCOEH).

The RECOVER study is working to recruit 660 people, including grocery, construction, manufacturing and restaurant jobs. Those entering the nine-month study must do so before getting their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Those who take part will be compensated up to $400, and receive free weekly COVID-19 tests. Participants must complete short weekly surveys, via text message, submit weekly self-collected respiratory specimens (using “easy” nasal swabs), and have their blood drawn for antibody testing three times during the study.

The study’s goal, according to a statement from the Rocky Mountain Center, is to boost understanding of COVID-19 infection rates, how illness is characterized, and risk and protective factors. The study’s organizers also want to learn about the differences between people who show symptoms and those who don’t, possible re-infections, and other aspects of the disease and the vaccine.

The Rocky Mountain Center is partnering with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the research firm Abt Associates to conduct the study.

“The study’s findings will be used for years to come in helping safeguard health care providers, first responders and frontline workers against COVID-19 and future epidemics,” Yoon said in a statement.

Those who qualify and are interested can get information at therecoverstudy.com.