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05 Mar 2022

Victorian biobank begins recruiting for COVID-19 vaccine studies

Funding: Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions

An initiative to collect blood samples from people before and after their booster vaccination against COVID-19 is calling for people to donate at major hospitals and sites in Melbourne.

Samples donated to the Victorian COVID-19 Vaccinees Collection will help scientists to better understand the immune response and long-term effects of COVID-19 vaccines.

The collection of biological samples, also known as a biobank, has been established by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) following a $5 million investment from the Victorian Government.

University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute, said people can currently enrol online through the Doherty Institute at and sites at Austin Health, Monash Health, and Western Health. Most study activities are done by phone and samples collected through private pathology sites.

“We want to enrol people from a diverse range of groups across all ages, including people with prior COVID-19 viral infection and those with underlying health conditions,” Professor Lewin said.

“Having a diverse range of people donating blood samples will help us to understand how different people respond to vaccines, how long the vaccine provides protection against COVID-19 and the ability of vaccines to protect as new variants emerge.”

Professor Lewin said the biobank needs up to 1500 people to donate their samples, which will then be processed into plasma, blood cells and DNA and made available to Victorian researchers for a range of studies.

Pictured: Study volunteer Tenzin Fox with the Honourable Jaala Pulford MP and Professor Sharon Lewin, Doherty Institute Director
Pictured: Study volunteer Tenzin Fox with the Honourable Jaala Pulford MP and Professor Sharon Lewin, Doherty Institute Director

“Any eligible Victorians yet to have their booster dose of vaccine and interested in assisting with our understanding of COVID-19 vaccines can be a part of the biobank through our partner vaccination sites.”

More information about how to participate in the biobank is available at

The collection will ultimately become part of a national system as researchers around Australia are developing collaborative approaches to biobanking.

The Victorian COVID-19 Vaccinees Collection is a collaborative project established by and located at the Doherty Institute.