Vaccines & Infectious Diseases

“To improve the health of our communities we are comprehensively evaluating the safety and effectiveness of vaccines in current use, conducting clinical trials of promising new vaccines, and studying the patterns of infectious diseases in our population.”

Lisa A. Jackson, MD, MPH
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Senior Investigator

Research overview

Vaccines save lives by protecting people against infectious diseases—polio, influenza, and viral hepatitis to name a few. But recently, particularly in the Northwest, people have delayed or refused vaccination because of safety fears, leading to local outbreaks of potentially deadly diseases such as whooping cough and measles. Kaiser Permanente Washington is working to protect communities by continually improving the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

Kaiser Permanente Washington research projects on vaccines and infectious diseases include:

  • clinical trials of promising vaccines and infectious disease treatments by the Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit led by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) Senior Investigator and Washington Permanente Medical Group physician Lisa A. Jackson, MD, MPH, and funded through 2021 by the National Institutes of Health;
  • ongoing monitoring of influenza vaccine effectiveness by the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network, led by Michael L. Jackson, PhD, MPH, KPWHRI associate investigator, and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and
  • studies of immunization safety through the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Project, supported by the CDC and connecting information in large databases maintained by eight American health plans including Kaiser Permanente Washington.

Successes over three decades of KPWHRI research on vaccine safety and effectiveness include:

  • a large study of flu vaccination in seniors that found that the vaccine might not protect them from pneumonia as well as hoped;
  • a “real-time” evaluation of the safety of the new shingles vaccine in older adults across the VSD network;
  • clinical trials of investigational flu vaccines, including ones against pandemic flu and bird flu, in adults;
  • the biggest retrospective study of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine effectiveness in adults and the largest clinical trial on the safety of this vaccine; and
  • the pivotal clinical trials of 7-valent, 13-valent, and 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in older adults.

Recent publications on Vaccines & Infectious Disease

Flannery B, Chung JR, Belongia EA, McLean HQ, Gaglani M, Murthy K, Zimmerman RK, Nowalk MP, Jackson ML, Jackson LA, Monto AS, Martin ET, Foust A, Sessions W, Berman L, Barnes JR, Spencer S, Fry AM. Interim estimates of 2017-18 seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness - United States, February 2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018;67(6):180-185. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6706a2. PubMed

Zhou H, Thompson WW, Belongia EA, Fowlkes A, Baxter R, Jacobsen SJ, Jackson ML, Glanz JM, Naleway AL, Ford DC, Weintraub E, Shay DK. Estimated rates of influenza-associated outpatient visits during 2001-2010 in six US integrated health care delivery organizations. Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2018 Jan;12(1):122-131. doi: 10.1111/irv.12495. Epub 2018 Feb 15. PubMed

Chang AY, Riumallo-Herl C, Perales NA, Clark S, Clark A, Constenla D, Garske T, Jackson ML, Jean K, Jit M, Jones EO, Li X, Suraratdecha C, Bullock O, Johnson H, Brenzel L, Verguet S. The equity impact vaccines may have on averting deaths and medical impoverishment in developing countries. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018 Feb;37(2):316-324. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2017.0861. PubMed

Flannery B, Smith C, Garten RJ, Levine MZ, Chung JR, Jackson ML, Jackson LA, Monto AS, Martin ET, Belongia EA, McLean HQ, Gaglani M, Murthy K, Zimmerman R, Nowalk MP, Griffin MR, Keipp Talbot H, Treanor JJ, Wentworth DE, Fry AM. Influence of birth cohort on effectiveness of 2015-2016 influenza vaccine against medically attended illness due to 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) virus in the United States. J Infect Dis. 2018 Jan 18. pii: 4816916. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jix634. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Opel DJ, Zhou C, Robinson JD, Henrikson N, Lepere K, Mangione-Smith R, Taylor JA. Impact of childhood vaccine discussion format over time on immunization status. Acad Pediatr. 2018 May - Jun;18(4):430-436. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2017.12.009. Epub 2018 Jan 8. PubMed

Researchers in Vaccines & Infectious Disease

Lisa A. Jackson, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-442-5216
Lisa.A.Jackson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jennifer C. Nelson, PhD

Director of Biostatistics; Senior Investigator
206-287-2004
Jen.Nelson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Michael L. Jackson, PhD, MPH

Associate Investigator
206-287-2220
Michael.L.Jackson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea J. Cook, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-4257
Andrea.J.Cook@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2870
Sascha.Dublin@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Onchee Yu, MS

Senior Biostatistician
206-287-2389
Onchee.Yu@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Robert D. Wellman, MS

Biostatistician
206-287-2557
Robert.D.Wellman@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Affiliate researchers

Doug Opel, MD, MPH
University of Washington (UW) Department of Bioethics and Humanities; UW Department of Pediatrics; UW Medical Center

Adjunct researchers

John Dunn, MD, MPH
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington

Elizabeth Lin, MD, MPH
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington Family Practice;
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute