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BCG vaccination to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in healthcare workers (The BRACE Trial)

This page and the related pages are specifically for healthcare workers at BRACE trial sites.

What is BRACE?

Healthcare workers are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2. Currently, there are no vaccines or proven preventative interventions available to protect healthcare workers.

The Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is designed to protect against tuberculosis (TB). However it also boosts immunity to protect against other infections. The purpose of the BRACE trial is to find out whether BCG vaccination protects against COVID-19 or reduces severity of COVID-19 in Australian healthcare workers.

Why take part: 

  • We hope that the BCG vaccine will boost your immune system.  It may provide you with non-specific protection against COVID-19 and other illnesses.
  • Information we collect in this trial will also help to inform how we respond to outbreaks of new viruses in the future.
  • We cannot guarantee or promise you will receive any benefits from this trial.

You will need to: 

  • Have initial, 3 month and 12 month blood test samples collected.
  • Be randomly allocated to receive the BGG vaccine or be in the control group that will receive a placebo vaccine.
  • Download an app to record respiratory symptoms and fever.
  • Be tested for SARS-CoV-2 if you have suggestive symptoms.
  • Complete online surveys at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.

Potential risks to participants:

  • Occasionally some people experience adverse effects of the BCG vaccine. The majority of these are minor and local reactions around the injection site. These are outlined in detail in further information for you to read before taking part in the study.
  • Having a blood sample collected may cause some discomfort or bruising.  Having a throat swab can sometimes be uncomfortable. Trained members of the research team will collect these samples.

Who can take part?

Due to the urgency of the COVID-19 situation we are keen to sign on interested participants early.

All healthcare workers who work in a healthcare setting or have face-to-face contact with patients are invited to check your eligibility to join the BRACE trial. Interested healthcare workers must be willing to attend recruitment and follow-up at a central recruitment site.

Click the button below to establish your eligibility, read the Participant Information Sheet (PIS) and sign the consent form. We will also be collecting information about you and your role as a healthcare worker, which will remain strictly confidential within the BRACE trial team. As with all clinical trials, you may decide later not to participate, up to and including at your vaccination appointment.

Project Details

Healthcare workers are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 pandemic. There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, so protection of healthcare workers relies on the use of personal protective equipment. When healthcare workers are sick and unable to come to work, this puts extra pressure on the healthcare system.

The results of this trial will help us find out whether, in current and future novel viral outbreaks, BCG vaccination could be used as an early intervention to protect healthcare workers and other high-risk groups.

In the BRACE trial, we aim to recruit 10,000 healthcare workers who work in a healthcare setting or have face-to-face contact with patients in Australia and overseas. We will not tell the healthcare provider where you work which of their staff members have consented to participate in this trial. There are no costs associated with participating in this trial, nor will you be paid. All medication, tests and medical care required as part of the trial will be provided to you free of charge.

This project is a collaboration between our Campus Partners MCRI, Melbourne University and the Royal Children's Hospital.