Global Vaccine Safety

Report on the Fourth Global Vaccine Safety Initiative Meeting

The Fourth Global Vaccine Safety Initiative meeting took place in Evian, France on 14-15 October 2015. The Global Vaccine Safety Initiative (GVSI) is the implementation mechanism for the Global Vaccine Safety Blueprint, which is the WHO strategy to optimize the safety of vaccines in all countries through effective use of pharmacovigilance principles and methods.

During two days, immunization programme managers and national regulatory authorities pharmacovigilance staff from more than thirty countries gathered with representatives from UN agencies, academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies umbrella organizations, partner and funding agencies.

The overall objective of the meeting was for Member States and partners to interact and exchange information on progress with implementation of national and global vaccine pharmacovigilance activities, share new ideas, innovations, explore new frontiers in vaccine safety, build partnerships and collaborations and define plans for further development.

National workshop on AEFI causality assessment and capacity building - Zimbabwe

At request of the Ministry of Health, WHO organized a Zimbabwe specific, “Advanced course on causality assessment of AEFI” in Harare from 2 – 5 November 2015. 21 participants from Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ), National Regulatory Authority for Medicines, Zimbabwe, MOHSW EPI team and WHO Zimbabwe attended.

The key facilitators included a medical officer from EPI division, Ghana, a Medicines expert from Tanzania Food and Drug Authority, Medical Officer from WHO IST ESA, Professor of Paediatrics from University of Adelaide and vaccine safety expert from WHO HQ in Geneva.

The tangible outcomes included finalisation of Zimbabwe national AEFI reporting form, development of a national AEFI reporting framework, development of a joint work-plan for 2016-2017 by MCAZ and EPI and decision to use Zimbabwe DHIS2 software to report AEFI. Multi-country research collaboration in vaccine safety using WHO tools was also conceptualised.

National workshop on AEFI causality assessment and vaccine safety communications - Ukraine

At request of the ministry of health (MoH) Ukraine, WHO organized an Advanced AEFI Causality Assessment and Communications Training in Kiev, 17-21 August 2015. The 16 participants included experts from MoH, National Immunization Program, Department for post marketing surveillance of medicines, immunobiologicals and vaccines, Communication experts, Paediatric immunologists, AEFI committee members, Academicians and WHO country office and UNICEF Ukraine.

Coordinated by staff from WHO HQ, EURO and a vaccine safety expert from Dalhousie University, Canada, the workshop focused on enhancing capacity to strengthen AEFI surveillance, improve AEFI reporting, investigation and causality assessment practices and communicate effectively on vaccine safety issues. The uniqueness of this training was the inclusion of the communication component into the training sessions. Participants learnt to prepare and prioritise action for vaccine safety-related events and also learnt how to address difficult questions posed by the media and the public.

GACVS highlight of June 2015 meeting

The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) held its 32nd meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on 10-11 June 2015. The Committee examined the experience with monitoring dissemination of vaccine safety information via the internet and methodological issues related to developing and maintaining information sheets on vaccine safety. It also reviewed recent data related to the safety of novel vaccines against Ebola virus and dengue and the safety profile of a vaccine against malaria. GACVS findings and recommendations were published in the WHO Weekly epidemiological record on 17 July 2015.

GVSI highlights