The COVID CommUNITY – South Asian study is being conducted to understand the immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine and its safety in South Asians (people from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh), who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and have worse outcomes from COVID-19 infection compared to other groups.

The study also aims to understand why some people may be less confident in getting the COVID-19 vaccine, and the overall impact of COVID-19 in this community. The study will provide insight into how a pandemic of this scale can be prevented in the community and vulnerable populations.

For more information, email:

Participants for the study are being recruited:

i. From vaccination or assessment centres in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) – actively recruiting;

ii. From vaccination or assessment centre in the Greater Vancouver Area (GVA) – recruitment is imminent.

iii. By re-contacting participants (18+) from our on-going prospective cohort studies via telephone/email. Dried blood spots for assessment of antibodies to COVID vaccination are being collected from all participants.

Sonia Anand is the overall Principal Investigator for the study.

Scott Lear, of Simon Fraser University, is site lead for the GVA part of the study.

As well as study team members shown on this page, other investigators are:

  • McMaster University’s Dawn Bowdish (immunology); Mark Loeb (infectious diseases); Sujane Kandasamy (qualitative research); Gita Wahi (pediatrics).
  • Public Health Ontario, University of Toronto’s Shelly Bolotin.
Study Type


Study Design

Prospective cohort

NO. of Countries


NO. of Sites


NO. of Participants


Study Period

2021 - 2022



COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF), Health Canada

Vaccine Surveillance Reference Group (VSRG), Health Canada

Public Health Ontario

Peel Public Health

Toronto Public Health

Fraser Health Authority British Columbia

South Asian COVID Task Force ON/BC

South Asian Health Network

South Asian Research Council

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