Planning for COVID-19 vaccines safety surveillance

Sonali Kochhar, Daniel A. Salmon

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


COVID-19 vaccines are the most important tool to stem the pandemic. They are being developed with unprecedented global collaboration and accelerated timelines to achieve WHO Emergency Use Listing, while using regulatory pathways through national regulatory authorities. Alongside preparations to ensure equitable access to the vaccines among people globally, preparations must be made within countries for COVID-19 vaccines safety surveillance on an urgent basis. Safety surveillance must be capable of investigating adverse events of special interest (AESI) and adverse events following immunization to determine a change in the benefit-risk profile of the vaccine, and to be able to anticipate coincidental events that might be attributed to the vaccine. Active surveillance systems should calculate the incidence of background rates of AESI prior to vaccine roll out. These background rates vary tremendously across regions, populations and case ascertainment methods. Active surveillance systems must be established or strengthened now, (including in LMIC), to calculate the background rates. Utilizing standardized case definitions and global standards for AESI will help in harmonization. Vaccine safety communication plans should be developed. Expanding the global vaccine safety system to meet the needs of COVID-19 and other emergency and routine use vaccines is a priority currently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6194-6198
Number of pages5
Issue number40
StatePublished - Sep 11 2020


  • Adverse event following immunization (AEFI)
  • Adverse event of special interest (AESI)
  • CEPI
  • COVID-19
  • Clinical research
  • Coronavirus
  • Epidemic
  • Global Vaccine Safety Blueprint
  • Outbreak
  • Pandemic
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Safety
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
  • Surveillance
  • Vaccines
  • WHO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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