Class of 1960 Scholar Seminars

Tuesday, February 27: Dr. Yinong Young-Xu, Veterans Administration Center For Medication Safety
4:15pm in Bronfman Auditorium (Wachenheim B11)
“Near Real-time Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness Surveillance during COVID-19 Pandemic and beyond”

The speed and success of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines development and distribution in the US were unprecedented. How did the FDA and the CDC then decide they must make COVID-19 vaccine booster shots available nationwide only eight months later? This lecture provides a behind-scene look at the vaccine safety and effectiveness monitoring effort at the federal level that was providing vital information to policy makers and the public even before infections rose from the coronavirus Delta variant. Furthermore, it envisions a common framework of data collection, management, and surveillance implemented in a partnership between all healthcare agencies and for this model to be continued and expanded through the current COVID-19 and future pandemics.

Since receiving his doctoral in epidemiology, with a concentration in cardiovascular epidemiology, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Yinong Young-Xu has been working for the Veterans Health Administration for the past two decades. In 2006, Dr. Young-Xu and colleagues were asked by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study complications associated with the rotavirus vaccine and presented their findings to the World Health Organization. From 2008 to 2010, he joined colleagues at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute to develop the Post Licensure Rapid Immunization Safety Monitoring (PRISM) System for surveillance of adverse events following receipt of pandemic 2009 H1N1 Vaccine. From 2014 to 2023, he was the director of the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the VA medical center in White River Junction, Vermont. Currently, he serves as the lead biostatistician at the VA Center For Medication Safety, continuing his work on vaccine safety and effectiveness. Dr. Young-Xu received his BA in Mathematics from Haverford College, and a Master’s in English Language and Literature from Northeastern University, in addition to his Master’s and doctoral degrees in epidemiology.  He previously worked as a software engineer on the Space Shuttle program.