Vaccine misinformation has the potential to impact public health and is as contagious and dangerous as the diseases it helps to spread.
To tackle incorrect and harmful misinformation about vaccines, Pinterest has introduced a new search experience which only shows evidence-based content from internationally recognized health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Vaccine Safety Net.
Pinterest took this approach because they recognized they were not medical professionals and believe that showing vaccine misinformation alongside resources from public health experts was not responsible.
Strengthening vaccine safety system in Afghanistan
31 participants attended a workshop in Kabul, Afghanistan from 14 to 16 April 2019 aimed at streamlining the adverse event following immunization (AEFI) reporting and investigation procedures. The workshop was coordinated by the National Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Authority (NMHRA), National EPI program and other stakeholders and supported by WHO Afghanistan Office. The workshop enabled consensus building between stakeholders, defined their roles and responsibilities to develop a sustainable vaccine safety surveillance system in Afghanistan. Participants were also oriented on procedures for vaccine registration and market authorization. Afghanistan plans to update the national AEFI guidelines, establish a national AEFI committee, strengthen regulatory capacity, conduct trainings and further strengthen the health system.
Updating Regional AEFI Surveillance Guidelines in the Americas - PAHO
PAHO conducted a meeting of experts at Bogota, Colombia for updating the AEFI (ESAVI) surveillance guidelines in the Americas on 14 and 15 March 2019. 27 representatives from the NRA, EPI and the Public Health institutes from 5 countries: Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and the United States of America participated. The new AEFI case definition and the revised WHO AEFI causality assessment methodology were discussed. The US CDC shared experiences on VAERS and VSD. Peru and Chile shared their experiences in handling of the yellow fever related AEFI. Mexico also shared their experience in data sharing between the Regulatory Authority and Immunization Program . This is the first step to the development of a comprehensive AEFI (ESAVI) surveillance guidelines for the Americas.
Vaccine Safety Communication in the Digital Age
The digital world allows reaching a broad number of people with strategic information. It also offers enormous possibilities to direct tailored messages that address the interests and sensibility of specific audiences. The report “Vaccine Safety Communication in the Digital Age” provides new directions, as identified by members of the Vaccine Safety Net for managing digital information and communications on vaccine safety in a credible way.
The seventh meeting of the Global Vaccine Safety Initiative (GVSI) was held in Santiago, Chile from 8 to 9 October 2018, hosted by the Institute of Public Health of Chile, together with the Ministry of Health. It gathered more than 100 participants from immunization programs and regulatory agencies from all WHO regions, technical agencies, donors and industry. The meeting was geared towards innovations in vaccine pharmacovigilance in preparation for the post-2020 WHO immunization strategy.
Highlights included understanding global transitions that will affect immunization programs and vigilance, progress with global vaccine pharmacovigilance, and collaborative models between public and private sectors.
WHO organized a workshop in Monrovia from 15 to 17 January 2019. The workshop was on Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI): improving reporting and data quality and how to use the WHO methodology for AEFI causality assessment. Eleven participants were from John F Kennedy Hospital, Redemption Hospital, Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA), Liberia Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), Department of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, and WHO Country office. Two participants came from The Gambia (Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital). Interactive sessions with group exercises on serious AEFI cases were facilitated by experts from WHO HQ, IST AFRO and Ghana.
In September 2018, Bangladesh evinced interest in rolling out vaccine adverse events information management system (VAEIMS) integrated with the country’s own DHIS2 based EPI tracker (EPI software) system. A VAEIMS software customised to Bangladesh was developed. Dhaka district and Dhaka North City Corporation initiated the pilot roll-out following “Hands-on” training exercises for National EPI managers, staff of health management information system (HMIS), Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA), WHO country office, AEFI Expert Review Committee and staff of pilot districts. It is envisioned that a full integration of VAEIMS into Bangladesh EPI tracker will enable the country to have a single integrated DHIS2 based HMIS for all national programs including immunization.
Identifying & responding to serious AEFI following use of smallpox vaccine during a Public Health Emergency
This guidance document provides information on rapidly establishing vaccine safety surveillance and monitoring systems in countries introducing smallpox vaccine during a public health emergency following an outbreak of smallpox. It would assist the National Crisis Management Committee, National Immunization Programmes, health care workers and immunization staff and other stakeholders who are part of the overall response to a smallpox outbreak. Guidance is also provided to countries to establish minimum capacity for safety monitoring. It has been developed on the principles enshrined in WHO’s Global Manual on Surveillance of Adverse Events Following Immunization, CIOMS guide to active vaccine safety surveillance and available literature on smallpox vaccines.
Healthcare professionals are increasingly being challenged on legitimate or perceived vaccine safety concerns. Knowing how to accurately and confidently communicate about vaccine safety is a vital component of all vaccination programs.
The vaccine safety communication (VSC) e-library is an open-source compendium of tools and resources targeted at health practitioners, policymakers and the public.
The aim is to encourage knowledge sharing and provide a comprehensive communications toolkit to prevent dangerous misconceptions about vaccine safety.
The e-library relies on your contributions to be successful and accepts vaccine safety communication resources including but not limited to:
- Training material, guidelines and communication plans;
- Vaccine safety information - flyers, brochures, booklets and posters;
- Information for the media - fact sheets, videos and handbooks.
GVSI reference documents
Global Vaccine Safety Blueprint 2.0 Background Research, 2019
- Global Vaccine Safety Blueprint
- Global Vaccine Safety Blueprint - landscape analysis
- The Decade of Vaccine - Global Vaccine Action Plan
Immunization and vaccines safety in WHO regions
Last update: September 2019