Guide to active vaccine safety surveillance: Report of CIOMS working group on vaccine safety


In 2013, the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) created a Working Group on Vaccine Safety (WG) to address unmet needs in the area of vaccine pharmacovigilance. Generating reliable data about specific vaccine safety concerns is becoming a priority due to recent progress in the development and deployment of new vaccines of global importance, as well as novel vaccines targeting diseases specifically endemic to many resource-limited countries (RLCs), e.g. malaria, dengue. The WG created a Guide to Active Vaccine Safety Surveillance (AVSS) to assist national regulatory authorities and national immunization program officers in RLCs in determining the best course of action with regards to non-routine pharmacovigilance activities, when confronted with a launch of a new vaccine or a vaccine that is new to their country. Here we summarize the results of the WG, further detailed in the Guide, which for the first time provides a structured approach to identifying and analyzing specific vaccines safety knowledge gaps, while considering all available sources of information, in order to determine whether AVSS is an appropriate solution. If AVSS is confirmed as being the appropriate tool, the Guide provides additional essential information on AVSS, a detailed overview of common types of AVSS and practical implementation considerations. It also provides a framework for a well-constructed and informative AVSS when needed, thus aiming to ensure the best possible safety of immunization in this new landscape.