New surveillance system to keep eye on any vaccine side-effects

As the world awaits vaccines for COVID-19, being developed with unusual haste, the Federal Government wants to be ready for any safety issues.

Aug 27, 2020, updated Aug 27, 2020
University of Queensland researchers work on a potential COVID-19 vaccine. (Source: UQ)

University of Queensland researchers work on a potential COVID-19 vaccine. (Source: UQ)

The federal Department of Health is talking to the private sector about a new national active surveillance system capable of capturing so-called adverse events following immunisation.

The system will not only cover vaccines on the National Immunisation Program but also special interest vaccines, including “a potential COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether it is included on the NIP”.

By the end of the year, the department wants to have contractors working on the system, which is expected to have broad scope and rapid data collection, and has flagged the need for “emergency management or pandemic surveillance”.

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“These services will assist the Department in monitoring for safety signals associated with national administration of all vaccines on the NIP and ensure the continued safety of and public confidence in the NIP,” the department states in tender documents.

The move comes as federal and state governments continue to negotiate for access to possible COVID-19 candidates, and the University of Queensland pushes forward with its own research.

UQ today announced that Queenslanders aged 65 and over were urgently needed to assist with its phase one human trials, which are being expanded to help gauge the vaccine candidate’s safety and effectiveness.

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